Even before the 2018-19 NBA season started, the Charlotte Hornets already made it clear that they have no intention of trading Kemba Walker before the February NBA trade deadline. Despite missing the Eastern Conference Playoffs for two consecutive years, the Hornets still see Walker as the player who could bring the first NBA championship title to Charlotte.
With his current performance, there is a strong chance that Kemba Walker could lead the Hornets back to the Eastern Conference Playoffs this season. In 20 games, the 28-year-old point guard is averaging 27.9 points, 6.5 assists, and 1.2 assists on 44.9 percent shooting from the field and 38.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc. However, having Walker as their only superstar doesn’t guarantee that the Hornets can make a deep playoff run.
As most people think, no NBA team is competing in the league just to reach the postseason, and if the Hornets realize that they are not capable of contending for the NBA championship title, they could finally consider making Kemba Walker available on the trading block. According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, one of the intriguing trade destinations for Walker is the Philadelphia 76ers.
In a proposed trade deal, the Hornets will be sending Kemba Walker to the Sixers in exchange for Markelle Fultz, Zhaire Smith, a 2019 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick, and a 2021 first-round pick. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
“Walker would give Philly a Big Four with Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Star-power overload is a real thing, but the fit would be fairly clean. Walker plays like a lifeline in Charlotte because he has no choice. He has spent more time off the ball in years past and is knocking down 39.4percent of his catch-and-shoot threes this season. Failing to shed salary as part of this blockbuster would hurt the Hornets. They could try brokering a Marvin Williams-for-Wilson Chandler swap, but the Sixers’ lack of depth on the wing would make that tough.”
"I never saw myself playing at this level." The unlikely rise of Kemba Walker, and Charlotte's murky path forward: https://t.co/wMby4Qwpym— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 28, 2018
The deal is set to benefit both the Sixers and the Hornets. The potential acquisition of Kemba Walker will boost the Sixers’ performance, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Adding Walker to the core of Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and J.J. Redick will not only make the Sixers the best team in the Eastern Conference, but it will also give them a strong chance of beating the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, in a best-of-seven series.
Meanwhile, in exchange for their lone superstar, the Hornets will be receiving players who could help them speed up the rebuilding process. Markelle Fultz and Zhaire Smith will give the Hornets players with superstar potentials, while the future draft picks will enable them to add young and promising talents on their roster.