LeBron James’ upcoming free agency has the Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans worried that he might leave for the second time in his career. Ahead of the 2018 NBA Draft, there were rumors floating around that the Cavaliers were trying to acquire Charlotte Hornets’ star point guard Kemba Walker. Many thought that acquiring a star like Walker could help entice James to stay for at least one more season.
According to a report from Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Cavaliers are no longer interested in acquiring Walker.
“I think that door has closed.”
Cleveland has been trying to find a way to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately, they simply do not have enough to offer the Spurs. It doesn’t appear likely that Cleveland will be able to acquire one of the top stars on the market, although they could try to free up cap space to pursue someone like Paul George.
Walker would have been an intriguing fit for the Cavaliers. He would have given Cleveland and James a legitimate No. 2 scoring option, but there were concerns about how his game would fit alongside James.
During the 2017-18 season with the Hornets, Walker ended up averaging 22.1 points per game to go along with 5.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds. He shot 43.1 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 38.4 percent of his three-point attempts.
It will be interesting to see what the Cavaliers end up doing this offseason. If James does decide to leave, it is likely that Cleveland will consider a rebuild. That would entail trading guys like Kevin Love, George Hill, and likely Tristan Thompson as well.
Dan Gilbert has made it clear that he thinks he can build a championship contender without James. That being said, he has said that before. Back when James left for the Miami Heat, Gilbert vowed to bring a title to Cleveland before James won one in Miami and everyone knows how that ended up.
At this point in time, it appears that the 28-year-old point guard will start the season with the Hornets. He has one season left on his deal, but Hornets’ general manager Mitch Kupchak has stated that the franchise would like to keep Walker in town long-term. Charlotte could consider gauging Walker’s trade value at the deadline as well.
Expect to hear plenty of rumors surround the Cavaliers throughout the remainder of the offseason. Everything will depend on James’ decision, but for now it appears that their interest in acquiring Walker is gone.