Since the 2018 NBA offseason, rumor and speculation continues to swirl that Kemba Walker will be parting ways with the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets have already denied the rumors, saying that they intend to keep Walker and remain competitive in the Eastern Conference. However, as everyone knows, the Hornets’ roster, as currently constructed, are not in a strong position to beat Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and the Philadelphia 76ers in a best-of-seven series.
Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated believes Kemba Walker projects to be the “biggest fish” in the trade market. If the Hornets finally realize that it’s time for them to go in a different direction, they are expected to trade Walker for assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. According to Shapiro, the top three suitors for the All-Star point guard include the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the San Antonio Spurs.
“There won’t be a shortage of suitors should Charlotte opt to deal Walker. The Lakers would be expected to enter the mix, seeking a proven secondary scorer alongside LeBron James. Walker can mirror Kyrie Irving’s impact next to James, providing a clutch shot-maker with isolation credentials. Sacrificing Kyle Kuzma or Brandon Ingram (or perhaps a point-guard swap involving Lonzo Ball) could get a deal done. Other intriguing destinations? Perhaps Philadelphia isn’t done star shopping. The 76ers own Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick, and perhaps the Hornets will attempt to revive Markelle Fultz’s career.”
After acquiring LeBron James, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka made it clear that they are planning to add another superstar on their roster. Kemba Walker will be a great addition to the Lakers, giving them a floor general who could be a very reliable scoring option next to James. However, to acquire Walker, the Lakers must be willing to give up at least one of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, or Lonzo Ball.
Meanwhile, Markelle Fultz and the 76ers don’t seem to be a good fit, and the best way to address the issue is to trade the former No. 1 overall pick for a superstar. A starting lineup featuring Kemba Walker, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid will surely make the Sixers as one of the favorite teams to win the 2019 NBA championship.
Another team who could emerge as a potential suitor for Kemba Walker is the Spurs. The Spurs have lost two of their starting caliber point guards before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season: Tony Parker in free agency and Dejounte Murray in a gruesome injury. Walker could immediately address the Spurs’ major problem and he could further improve his game playing under Coach Gregg Popovich. Like the Lakers and the 76ers, the Spurs also have interesting trade assets that can convince the Hornets to make a deal.