After making the All-NBA Third Team last week, Kemba Walker is now eligible for a “supermax” contract extension with the Charlotte Hornets. While this could reduce the chances of the 29-year-old point guard switching teams this summer, it also seems that there are several NBA teams that still hope to acquire his services, including the Los Angeles Lakers.
In a recent tweet, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote that there are four teams that “have an interest” in Walker — the Lakers, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, and New York Knicks. He did, however, mention that the Hornets are still interested in re-signing Walker and possibly offering him the aforementioned supermax extension he now qualifies for. Per Forbes, such a deal would allow the Hornets to offer Walker a five-year contract worth $221 million, as opposed to other teams, which would only be allowed to sign him for four years and $140 million.
As the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kemba Walker has spent his whole eight-year professional career with the Charlotte Hornets, as noted by Fox Sports. The former Connecticut point guard enjoyed a career-best season in 2018-19, averaging 25.6 points and 5.9 assists and shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. His teams, however, have had little success in the postseason, with the most recent example being the 2018-19 Hornets, who finished ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 39-43 record.
— UConn Men's Basketball (@UConnMBB) May 23, 2019
Speaking to The Charlotte Observer in March, Walker expressed his frustration with the Hornets’ frequent failure to make the playoffs, noting that it’s “just not fun” to be in such a situation. As Walker himself noted, Charlotte has only made the postseason twice during his time with the team.
“At this point, I want to win. I want to be in the playoffs,” Walker said. “I’m tired of not being in the playoffs…. I hate watching [the Hornets] on TV.”
While it’s still far from sure whether Walker will stay with the Hornets via supermax extension or if he’ll try his luck with the Lakers or any of the other teams mentioned in Kyler’s tweet, those four teams and the Hornets aren’t the only possibilities for the star guard heading into the summer. The Dallas Mavericks were previously rumored to be among the teams hoping to sign Walker in free agency, with The New York Times’ Marc Stein commenting earlier this month that Kemba is “probably the best” player who could potentially join the Mavs in the 2019 offseason, as quoted by SportsDay.