Many people were shocked when Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets parted ways this summer. Since the 2018 NBA offseason, the Hornets have been saying they would do everything they could to bring Walker back when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, when the 2019 NBA free agency officially started, Walker and the Hornets failed to reach an agreement regarding a new contract, which made the All-Star point guard decide to entertain offers from other NBA teams.
Kemba Walker ultimately ended up leaving the Hornets to sign a four-year deal worth $140.7 million with the Boston Celtics. Contrary to reports that the Hornets would be offering Walker a max contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed in a recent article that Charlotte offered him less than $160 million for five years. After being lowballed by the Hornets, Walker decided to seek a better contract elsewhere.
Despite suffering numerous disappointments in his eight years in Charlotte, Kemba Walker revealed that he didn’t see himself leaving the team that selected him as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Walker has said on several occasions that he wanted to create something special in Charlotte and help them win their first NBA championship title. Walker described the emotional 2019 NBA free agency as “f–king tough days” of his life.
“Tough days, f–king tough days, I can’t even lie,” Walker said, as quoted by Bleacher Report. “Excuse my language. It was difficult. I couldn’t see myself just being on another team. It was just hard. That’s all I’ve known was Charlotte. Definitely some tough times. I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to get the offer that I wanted, and maybe not close to it, because of cap space.”
Kemba Walker spoke with @ShamsCharania. The former Hornet-turned-Celtic hit on:— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCAR) August 7, 2019
➡️ Leaving Charlotte
➡️ Understanding why it happened
➡️ Wrapping his head around leaving
➡️ Greater expectations in Bostonhttps://t.co/GUDVkZgjTc pic.twitter.com/jZD08TLQT1
As hard as it may be to believe, going in separate directions might be best for Kemba Walker and the Hornets. The departure of Walker allowed the Hornets to go under the luxury tax line and slowly rebuild their roster. Meanwhile in Boston, Walker will have a better opportunity of competing in the playoffs every year.
If the core of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter grow together and build good chemistry, the Celtics may end up becoming one of the top favorites to fully dominate the Eastern Conference and win the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. As of now, Walker is focused on preparing for the upcoming FIBA World Cup where he and his three teammates — Tatum, Brown and Marcus Smart — are part of the preliminary roster.