Recent weeks have seen several trade rumors swirl around the Dallas Mavericks, who are reportedly planning to move second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. While the 21-year-old Smith was not specifically mentioned as a possible trade piece, the latest such report surrounding the Mavericks suggests that the team had recently made inquiries about Kemba Walker, who is currently enjoying a career year for the Charlotte Hornets as their starting point guard.
In the latest edition of his Inside Pass column on subscriber-only publication the Athletic, Shams Charania wrote about the potential “sellers” and “buyers” among NBA teams ahead of the February 7 trade deadline. Per Bleacher Report, the Mavericks were brought up as one of the potential buyers, as Charania mentioned how the team inquired about a possible trade for Walker “in recent weeks.” Dallas, however, was not the only team that reportedly asked about the 28-year-old guard, though Charania noted that the other teams had made these inquiries over the summer of 2018.
Despite the Dallas Mavericks’ apparent interest in Walker, the Hornets appear determined to keep him in Charlotte as long as possible, as team owner Michael Jordan is reportedly hoping to re-sign him when his contract expires in the summer.
“The Charlotte Hornets are competing for a playoff berth, have Kemba Walker as the face of their franchise and are poised to have Walker representing the organization when the city hosts All-Star Weekend,” Charania pointed out, as quoted by Bleacher Report.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 23, 2019
An eight-year veteran who was picked ninth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, Walker has played his entire career for the Charlotte Hornets and has seen action in two All-Star Games. As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, he is averaging a career-best 25 points, along with 4.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game, and shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point range. But with his contract expiring in a few months, Bleacher Report speculated that Walker might want to move to a potential contender. The Hornets, who are presently eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 22-24 record, have not won a playoff series since they entered the NBA in the 2004-05 season.
While adding Kemba Walker to a lineup currently led by star rookie Luka Doncic could provide a significant boost to the Dallas Mavericks, who are 13th place in the Western Conference with a 21-26 record, ClutchPoints predicted that it would take a “mega-offer” for the Mavericks, or any other team, to convince the Hornets to part ways with him. As for the Mavs’ reported plans to tweak their roster by trading Dennis Smith Jr., the publication wrote that the team will “likely wait until the offseason” instead of settling for the “meager” offers they supposedly got for the young point guard in recent weeks.