There have been a lot of NBA trade rumors swirling around NBA All-Star Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets getting traded to the New York Knicks. However, it seems that potential trade has a snag to it, and it may not even happen at all unless Michael Jordan gets some serious value back. Meanwhile, it’s being said that one of Walker’s teammates in Charlotte could also be on the move. Here’s the latest update on Walker possibly being traded by the Hornets, joining the Knicks, as well as MJ’s comments, and his Charlotte teammate’s situation.
A report from ESPN‘s Ian Begley earlier today discusses why Kemba Walker may not be heading to the New York Knicks. Begley suggests that the Knicks aren’t interested in trading away younger players or draft picks unless it brings a “transformative player” back to them. In the case of Walker, they would be picking up a significant amount of salary with the All-Star player, and while he’s among the top 10 guards in the Eastern Conference, he may not be considered “transformative” by the Knicks’ front office. That could rule out the potential for a Walker to the Knicks deal, as of right now.
Begley further suggests that the Knicks organization has a history of trying to patch things up after they make a mistake via drafts, trades, and signings. In this case, the mistake some people believe is regarding who they chose to draft during the past summer, as Frank Ntilikina wasn’t considered the best pick at their spot by some analysts.
Ntilikina is averaging 5.3 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game in his rookie season. However, he was drafted one spot ahead of Dennis Smith Jr., a player who has been getting a lot more attention in his first NBA season with the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs’ rookie is averaging 14.8 points, 4.6 points, and 3.9 rebounds a game in his 28.4 minutes per game, placing him among the top rookies this season.
Most likely, Smith Jr. would have been a sound addition to the Knicks’ roster which is built around Kristaps Porzingis. So at this point, the Knicks are probably better off trading other assets besides young players or picks and waiting to see what Ntilikina might bring in the future. With that said, it seems Kemba Walker, a high-priced NBA All-Star with six seasons of experience, is not part of the Knicks’ strategy going forward.
Charlotte may not even be actively looking to deal their star player unless the exchange is right for them. Another report surfaced on Tuesday from Charlotte Observer indicating that Hornets owner Michael Jordan isn’t looking to trade his star, but would listen to offers if an All-Star player is exchanged. The Knicks only have Porzingis who seems to fit that category at the moment.
“I’m not looking to trade Kemba, but I would listen to opportunities.
It’s not like we are shopping him. We would not just give him up. I love Kemba Walker. I would not trade him for anything but an All-Star player.”
While there may not be any trade at all, it’s also mentioned that if Charlotte trades Kemba Walker they may trade his teammate, Jeremy Lamb, in order to shed another long-term contract. Walker and Lamb are former college teammates from the National Champion Connecticut Huskies team. While Walker has spent his entire career with the Hornets, Lamb was acquired by the team ahead of the 2015-16 NBA season.
The Hornets forward previously played for the Oklahoma City Thunder for three seasons before coming to the Hornets. Lamb has averaged 10.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in his three seasons in Charlotte, at times providing a replacement player for the starting lineup, or a boost off the bench to the offense.
Both the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks will have until the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, February 8, to make their moves.