Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker is one of the NBA superstars who has been frequently mentioned in various rumors before the February 8 trade deadline. However, Hornets owner Michael Jordan made it clear that they have no intention of trading Walker, and the only way interested teams can convince them to make a deal was to give up an All-Star caliber player in return. Jordan’s statement showed how the Hornets value Walker as the face of the franchise.
However, Kemba Walker seems to be frustrated with the Hornets’ current standing in the 2017-18 NBA season. With only a few games left, the Hornets need a miracle in order to secure a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. In an interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Walker gives a major hint on his plan to leave the Hornets for a title contender if the situation won’t improve.
“I’ve always felt like I’m a winning player. Like I deserved it to be in the playoffs – to be battling,” Walker said. “That’s what it will be all about in the future.”
Last offseason, the Hornets traded for Dwight Howard, believing he could help them dominate the Eastern Conference. Howard somehow managed to perform well and boosts the Hornets on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, things still don’t go as expected in Charlotte.
Walker definitely deserves to be on a winning team. He has been establishing an impressive performance almost every night, averaging 23.1 points and 5.7 assists on 43.4 percent shooting from the field and 39.4 percent from beyond the arc. However, his effort is not enough the bring the Hornets back into the playoffs.
Per Spotrac, Kemba Walker is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. If the Hornets won’t get any assurance that he will re-sign, Bonnell believes they should consider trading him than lose him in free agency without getting anything in return.
“Trading Walker would be painful, but it might also be necessary if the alternative is risking losing him for nothing after next season.”
Walker’s decision will be affected by the direction the team wants to take in the next couple of years. After firing Rich Cho this season, the Hornets are currently in search for their new general manager. If their next GM suggests a rebuild, Walker no longer has the reason to stay in Charlotte.
The 2018 offseason will be the best time for the Hornets to move Walker. Teams who are in dire need of additional star power will surely give up interesting assets just to add him to their team. Acquiring young players and future draft picks will help the Hornets speed up the rebuilding process to become a significant team once again in the league.