Hornets owner Michael Jordan intends to sign an extension with Kemba Walker rather than let him hit free agency and said that he’s hopeful that the “real conversations” between the sides bear fruit in advance of Friday’s deadline, as he tells Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (All Twitter links). Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported earlier this month that Charlotte was in talks with the Jeff Schwartz client.
Executives around the league often say that Walker isn’t a “championship point guard,” as Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote about a month ago, though the 24-year-old hasn’t had much chance to show what he can do in meaningful games during his three years with the team. Last year’s playoff appearance was his first, and he held steady at 17.7 points per game during the 2013/14 regular season in spite of the addition of marquee free agent Al Jefferson. The Hornets are poised to return to the postseason this year, but it appears Jordan is anxious to strike a deal before skeptical executives have a chance to drive up the point guard’s value next summer.
The Hornets only have about $45.2MM in guaranteed salary for 2015/16 even with Walker’s extension. That doesn’t include a $13.5MM player option for Jefferson nor a $6MM player option for Gerald Henderson, however.
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