With NBA free agency beginning for real next Sunday, most eyes are on the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving. But one of the other major free agents who may be jumping to a new team is Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker.
Walker, who has played his entire career in Charlotte, has been linked with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would join Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Most rumors have indicated either that Walker will remain with Charlotte or jump to the Lakers.
But now, one NBA reporter is linking Walker with another team.
“The Celtics, I’m told, are emerging as a stealth suitor for Charlotte Hornets free agent Kemba Walker,” The New York Times’ Marc Stein wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “Boston’s cap-room situation is a fluid one but the Celtics, as Danny Ainge has acknowledged, are weighing their various needs as we speak in both the backcourt (with Kyrie Irving — and possibly Terry Rozier — leaving) and frontcourt (with Al Horford exiting).”
The Celtics were not expected to have a large amount of cap space this offseason and were even mentioned in trade rumors for Anthony Davis before he went to Los Angeles. But with Irving expected to leave Boston and Al Horford making the surprise decision to opt out, the Celtics may emerge as more of a free agent player than expected. Rozier is a restricted free agent.
Boston, however, has not been mentioned as a suitor for Kevin Durant, who the team pursued heavily the last time he was a free agent three years ago.
The 29-year-old Walker is seen as a rising player who has made the All-Star team the last three years, and he had his best season last year when he averaged 25.6 points per game.
The Hornets, as Walker’s current team, can offer him more money than other teams can, and he’s eligible for a “supermax” contract. However, per NBA.com, Walker is willing to take less than the supermax amount in order to help the Hornets build a better team around him.
“That all factors in (to my decision) when I sit down with the teams and hear what guys have to say,” Walker said of his upcoming free agency process. “I think that will all come into play. I’m not really sure right now. Like I said Charlotte is my first priority and I have to see what (the Hornets) have to offer, as well as other teams.”