The Hornets committed nearly $200MM to free agents this summer, including over $187MM in guaranteed money, but that doesn’t mean the team didn’t lose several key players from last year’s roster. Asked about an offseason that saw the team lose Al Jefferson, Courtney Lee, and Jeremy Lin, Kemba Walker told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that “it sucks” to see so many teammates depart, especially when one of those players was Jefferson.
“But that’s the business: You’re always going to play with some new guys every year,” said the Hornets’ starting point guard. “You think about Big Al, who I wish we could have kept. He helped change this franchise around big time from the day he got here.”
Here’s more from Walker, along with a couple more items from out of the Southeast division:
- While Walker was sad to see Jefferson, Lee, and Lin go, he’s optimistic about the Hornets’ new additions, and is particularly intrigued by center Roy Hibbert. “I think, if he can get back to the level he once was at, he can be a huge help to us,” Walker told Bonnell. The point guard also added that he’s fully recovered from offseason knee surgery.
- Within his latest mailbag for the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Ira Winderman discusses the Heat‘s Plan B for 2017 free agency now that Russell Westbrook won’t be available, and examines whether point guard Beno Udrih – who reportedly has a standing contract offer from the team – is even a fit this year in Miami.
- Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders identifies some of the summer’s most notable team-friendly contracts, writing that Dion Waiters‘ modest deal with the Heat represents an impressive low-risk, high-reward investment for the team.
- As we detailed earlier this week, two Southeast teams (Atlanta and Miami) have used most or all of their room exceptions, while the other three clubs in the division still have that $2.898MM exception available.