Since assuming the role as the Charlotte Hornets general manager, Mitch Kupchak made it clear to the entire league that they still see Kemba Walker as the centerpiece of the title-contending team that they are trying to build. Kupchak became true to his word by keeping the 28-year-old All-Star point guard on their roster for the entire 2018-19 NBA season. However, after the Hornets failed to earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference for the third straight year, rumors and speculations about Walker’s departure from Charlotte have once again started to circulate around the league.
Hornets General Manager Mitch Kupchak definitely knows that Kemba Walker is growing frustrated about their inability to at least reach the postseason. Despite the rumors that he will leave in the 2019 NBA free agency, Kupchak remains very confident that they could bring Walker back next summer. According to ESPN, Kupchak revealed that re-signing Walker will be “half of the equation” of their 2019 NBA offseason plans.
“I think this is a place that he wants to be, and we’ll do everything that we can to bring him back here,” Kupchak said. “But he is half of the equation.”
Of course, the other half of the equation is surrounding Kemba Walker with quality players. The key to convincing Walker to sign a long-term deal is to acquire talent that will help the Hornets become a more competitive team in the 2019-20 NBA season.
“I mean, obviously I do want to be competitive because I want to be able to play in the playoffs,” Walker said, via ESPN. “So I want to think that would have some influence on my decision.”
Kemba Walker and Mitch Kupchak are both aware of the problem they will be facing in the 2019 NBA offseason. If they give Walker a max contract in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Hornets won’t have enough salary cap flexibility to chase other big names on the market. Kupchak believes that the only way that they can improve their current roster is by acquiring talent via trade.
Kemba Walker will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and he has repeatedly been asked if he'll remain with Charlotte. HoopsHype compiled all of his recent quotes about free agency and his future: pic.twitter.com/LzyogiDCXr
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 12, 2019
As of now, only Kemba Walker knows what he plans to do when free agency hits next summer. After committing to re-sign with the Hornets before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, it seems like Walker now wants to keep all his options open in the 2019 NBA free agency. When the calendar turns to the month of July, Walker is expected to receive plenty of calls and offers from NBA teams who want to boost their chance of contending for the NBA championship in the 2019-20 NBA season. Some of the potential suitors of Walker in free agency include the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Dallas Mavericks.