Since assuming his current front office role, 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 planning to build. When the rumors about Walker’s departure started to circulate, Kupchak and the Hornets felt a sense of relief when the All-Star point guard said that he wanted to finish his NBA career and create something special in Charlotte.
However, after the Hornets suffered another disappointing season, it seems like Walker has a change of heart and already wants to keep all his options open when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this July.
“I’m not sure yet,” Walker told Bleacher Report after an early April practice in New Orleans. “Those are the things that I will think about when my season’s over.”
Hornets owner Michael Jordan has already expressed his desire to do everything he can to bring Kemba Walker back, but according to Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report, Charlotte “might be better off” letting the All-Star point guard walk away next summer.
“His current team needs him but might be better off with him gone. He needs help but probably can’t get it if he re-signs. He’s clearly worthy of a max salary now, but that contract could grow ugly on the back end. Outside of Charlotte, he’s unlikely to be any team’s primary target, yet he could still find himself in the middle of a recruiting war.”
Kemba Walker has undeniably done lots of great things in Charlotte. From being the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Walker has turned himself into one of the best point guards in the league. However, despite his incredible performance, it seems like Walker isn’t the player who will lead the Hornets to their first NBA championship.
If the Hornets give Walker a max contract in the 2019 NBA free agency, they won’t have enough money left to chase other big names next summer. Also, with their limited trade assets, it remains a big question mark if the Hornets have a chance of acquiring the likes of Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, and other players who will be available on the trade market next summer.
Parting ways with Kemba Walker and undergoing a full-scale rebuild will be a tough decision for the Hornets. But it’s something that they should strongly consider if they don’t want to remain mired in mediocrity.