The Charlotte Hornets are eliminated from playoffs contention for the third time in four years, and it has resulted in rumors that main man Kemba Walker might get traded this coming offseason. According to FanSided’s Swarm And Sting, five teams are interested in making an offer for the All-Star point guard, and they are the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Walker, who turns 28 next month, is considered one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference to date. He participated in the last two All-Star Games and has grown to become a consistent 20-plus scorer in each of the last three seasons. Currently, he is averaging 22.6 points, 5.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in 34.6 minutes per game for head coach Steve Clifford.
However, the most evident deficiency in Walker’s resume is his postseason experience. Seven years into his basketball career, all with the Hornets, the former NBA Sportsmanship Award recipient has only been in two playoffs runs. One of them was in 2014 when they were swept by a LeBron James-led Miami Heat in the first round while the other was in 2016 when a LeBron-less Heat beat them again in an opening round series that reached seven games.
The Hornets started the season on the wrong foot, losing 16 of their first 25 games. The team tried to bounce back after the All-Star break, but inconsistent performances continued to haunt the squad, leaving them out of the playoffs door with four games to go in the regular season.
Failing to advance to the postseason has reportedly frustrated Walker, and there are rumors that it could lead to him demanding a trade this coming offseason.
“At this point, I want to win. I want to be in the playoffs,” Walker said, per the Charlotte Observer. “I’m tired of not being in the playoffs. I hate watching them on TV. I’ve been there twice in seven years, and it’s just not fun.”
— Charlotte Hornets (@CHornetsNews) March 26, 2018
Walker is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019, and if the Hornets decide to keep him but continue to fail to qualify for the postseason, then they may risk losing him for nothing when that time comes.
The player claimed that he is still loyal to the Hornets, though, and that he hopes he can be with the team “for a long time.” However, Walker’s recent comments are a clear indication that he could easily be tempted to join a playoff contender if an opportunity arrives.
“I’ve always felt like I’m a winning player. Like I deserved it to be in the playoffs – to be battling. That’s what it will be all about in the future,” he said.
Of the five teams linked to Walker, the Cavs and Pacers have successfully made it to this year’s playoffs while the Bucks are still hanging on in the eighth spot. Detroit is four games behind Milwaukee with only five games left in their regular season campaign.