Charlotte Hornets star guard Kemba Walker could be in play for his hometown New York Knicks provided the team is willing to part ways with prized, rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina.
According to Metro, the 19-year-old Ntilikina could be at the center of a package that includes high draft picks and any combination of Ron Baker, Kyle O’Quinn, Lance Thomas and Willy Hernangomez, all aimed at landing the Bronx-born Walker back on Broadway.
All the speculation has kicked in over the last few days after ESPN reported the Hornets “would like to engage” in possible trade scenarios for the 27-year-old veteran all-star.
With Charlotte struggling in the Eastern Conference, Michael Jordan’s Hornets are rumored to be looking to shed payroll, with Nicolas Batum (four years, $100 million), Dwight Howard (two years, $47 million) and Marvin Williams (three years, $42 million) also reported to be in play.
But the biggest attraction figures to be Walker, who has averaged 22.6 points and 5.6 assists per game since the start of the 2016-17 season on a relative workmanlike deal of just $12 million per season.
“I’ve been here for the last seven years, and I’m going to do what I’ve got to do to help my team win games,” Walker, ranked second in both points and assists in franchise history, recently told ESPN. “That’s all I can do. I don’t have control over those kind of things.”
Currently, the Hornets are 11th in the East with an 18-26 record, four games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth and final conference playoff spot and two games behind the 21-25 Knicks.
While Ntilikina has experienced his growing pains this season, there have been enough flashes for team brass to remain excited about his future.
In 43 games, he has averaged 5.3 points, 3.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds on 39 percent shooting.
Ntilikina’s best game came in a 113-109 win over the Lakers in a head to head matchup against Lonzo Ball at Madison Square Garden, when he finished with 13 points, five assists and five rebounds.