The departure of Kemba Walker has been one of the most talked about topics in the league since the 2018 NBA offseason. The All-Star point guard may have already expressed his desire to finish his NBA career in Charlotte, but with their inability to make huge noise in the Eastern Conference, rumors and speculations have been circulating that he will be leaving the Hornets next summer to chase his first NBA championship title somewhere else.
Several NBA teams have already been linked to Kemba Walker, including the Utah Jazz. With Ricky Rubio currently playing the final year of his contract, the Jazz are expected to find an All-Star caliber point guard who could play alongside Donovan Mitchell in the 2019-20 NBA season. To acquire Walker, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report suggested that the Jazz could engage in a sign-and-trade deal with the Hornets.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Jazz will be sending Grayson Allen, Dante Exum, Georges Niang, a 2019 first-round pick, and a 2021 second-round pick to the Hornets in exchange for Kemba Walker. As Favale Noted, the Jazz could acquire Walker without giving up valuable assets since they could create enough salary cap space to offer him a max contract in the 2019 NBA free agency. However, by engaging in a sign-and-trade deal, the Jazz will have the opportunity to bring Derrick Favor back even after using a huge chunk of their salary cap space to sign Walker.
“Utah and Kemba Walker can marry each other this summer without Charlotte’s help. The Jazz will have more than $33 million in cap space if their current draft position (No. 23) doesn’t noticeably improve and they waive both Derrick Favors and Raul Neto. That opportunity cost isn’t nothing. Favors has never looked like a better fit during the Rudy Gobert era. Utah is plus-2.9 points per 100 possessions with a superhero defense when they share the floor and plus-5.8 when Favors jumps center as part of bench-heavy units, according to Cleaning the Glass.”
Kemba Walker scored 88.7 percent (47 of 53) of the Hornets' starting five points on Monday. That's the highest percentage of a team's starting five points in a game since starts were first recorded in 1970-71 (via @EliasSports). pic.twitter.com/BIHWtpe8JN— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 2, 2019
Kemba Walker will undeniably be an incredible addition to the Jazz, giving them a very reliable scoring option next to Donovan Mitchell. This season, the 28-year-old point guard is averaging 25.4 points, 5.9 assists, and 1.3 steals on 43.1 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Inserting Walker to the Jazz’s starting lineup of Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert will give their fans something to look forward to in the 2019-20 NBA season.
Grayson Allen, Dante Exum, Georges Niang, a 2019 first-round pick, and a 2021 second-round pick may not be enough compensation for Kemba Walker, but there aren’t many NBA teams in the league who will consider engaging in a sign-and-trade deal with the Hornets next summer. If Walker no longer wants to stay in Charlotte, it will be best for the Hornets to push through with the deal than lose him in free agency without getting anything in return.