Hornets Make Kemba Walker Available In Trade Talks

The Hornets have shown a willingness to discuss star point guard Kemba Walker in trade talks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi, who reports that the team has been encouraging potential trade partners to make offers. Charlotte appears “eager” to explore deals that would involve attaching Walker to one of the club’s less desirable contracts, Wojnarowski adds.

As Woj details, the Hornets have already made several of their other highest-paid players available in trade discussions. That list includes Nicolas Batum, Dwight Howard, Marvin Williams, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — those players are all earning between $13MM and $23.5MM in 2017/18, and have at least one more guaranteed year on their respective contracts beyond this season. Batum’s deal is particularly onerous, with three more years and $76.7MM left on it after ’17/18.

By comparison, Walker is a terrific bargain for the Hornets, earning just $12MM annually this year and next. Despite the great value they’re getting on the star point guard, the Hornets have struggled this season, posting an 18-25 record and sitting four games back of the Pistons and Sixers for the No. 8 seed in the East.

With little hope of contending in 2017/18, Charlotte would head into the summer with Walker entering a contract year if he’s not traded at the deadline. While the Hornets would certainly like to retain the 27-year-old for the long term, they’d run the risk of losing him for nothing as a free agent in 2019 if they hang onto him. Moving Walker now, rather than waiting until he’s on an expiring contract, would likely result in the best possible return for the team.

Trading Walker would also signal that the Hornets are shifting into full-fledged rebuilding mode. It would be difficult to effectively move forward on a rebuild without dumping at least one of their most expensive contracts, so it makes sense that the Hornets would look to address that issue at the same time they explore the market for Walker. Still, attaching the All-Star guard to any one of the four players listed above would mean at least $25MM in outgoing salary, which may limit the list of Charlotte’s viable trade partners.

Walker, 27, has been his usual productive self for the Hornets this season. While his 3PT% (.349) has slipped a little, he has averaged an impressive 21.7 PPG and 5.8 APG in 41 games.

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29 thoughts on “Hornets Make Kemba Walker Available In Trade Talks

    • joeyrocafella

      Agreed! I might have to stop watching games for a while… As a UConn and Hornets fan this would hurt

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  1. Z-A

    Whilte I think Batum’s contract is mighty ugly…

    Sixers get – Walker & Batum
    Hornets get – Redick & Amir Johnson

    No picks, nada. Straight-up. Salary dumpage.

    I don’t know that the Sixers will be able to land any of the Premier FA’s in 2018 or 2019. So this doesn’t effect those plans. The only guy I’d want that could consider coming to Philly might be locked up anyway – Klay Thompson.

    LBJ, Durant, PG13 – doubt any think about coming to Philly tbh, even if I’d like it to happen.

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    • aarongill

      Terrible trade for the hornets. They’re going to want young players and picks for him

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      • Z-A

        The only way they are going to dump Howard (23.5, 23.8M) or Batum (22.4, 24, 25.5, 27M) is to attach Walker, start trying to build trades that work money wise where a team will take either of those contracts on while sending expiring contracts only back to the Hornets. They still need to unload Williams (13.1, 14, 15M) and MKG (13M thru 2020).

        Here’s the other team where it works: LAKERS. Do they want Kemba and Batum for Lopez and KCP? Send Lonzo to the bench I guess. No shot at top free agents with Batum’s contract on the roster. Think they’ll take back Dwight?

        You can do Derrick Favors and Joe Johnson for MKG and Walker.

        Let’s get real, Charlotte wants to DUMP salary. That is their goal. It was the goal of the Trail Blazers this past offseason and they dumped Allen Crabbe to the Nets for.. Andrew Nicholson:

        July 25, 2017: Traded by the Brooklyn Nets to the Portland Trail Blazers for Allen Crabbe.

        August 30, 2017: Waived by the Portland Trail Blazers.

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    • I give no fox

      As a philly fan I hope they don’t make that trade. I would rather resign Reddick and continue to build. Simmons is proving more than capable of running the point and until he develops 3 point range he is most successful with the ball in his hands and facilitating the offense. Walker wouldn’t fit their needs. And while I think batum is a stud, when healthy, he is too much of a risk at this point with all his injuries and that salary for 3 years is prohibitive

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      • Z-A

        Resign Redick* at what cost? One reason they signed him for so much is for the cap hold figure. Redick is already playing outside of his strength. Walker is a natural scorer. And he can probably help reduce the turnovers on this team – Simmons has 4.0 TOV, Walker 2.0. You can play them along side one another just as they’re doing with TJ.

        Who are they legitimately going to sign?

        Batum is like having Evan Turner, except he can shoot. While he’s having a down shooting year, His career slash is .434/.354/.838. You can run him at SF or SG. Like I said in my original post – I’m not a fan of his contract – it’s steep. He’s averaged 74.5 games for the last 5 seasons.

        But you’ll have this year and next year:

        Embiid
        Saric
        Batum
        Walker
        Simmons

        As your starting 5 w/RoCo, Fultz, Holmes, Bayless, and TLC as your back-ups.

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    • oriolesravenstimberwolves04

      An all star caliber player getting paid 12 mill is not some salary dump sweetener. They should net a top 10 pick for Kemba. You have no idea what you are talking about.

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      • Charlotte wants to dump one of their bad contracts in a Walker deal, so its doubtful that Charlotte would get a top 10 pick unless they take back a bad contract as well. A relatively straight up Kemba Walker deal definitely warrants a top 10 pick, but those contracts that Charlotte is trying to unload are so bad that it drives the value down. Kemba plus bad contract for a mid round first, salary filler, and a young player seems like the only realistic deal.

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    • mcmillankmm

      There’s no incentive for the Sixers there. It would be nice to avoid giving up picks but I don’t see any reason they’d want Batum. And then most likely have to look at extending Kemba. They would already have a ton of salary locked into Embiid and Batum before entertaining extension talks with Kemba.

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      • Z-A

        Walker is signed through next season. They don’t have to re-sign him. This does accelerate their playoff hope aspirations though. Dramatically adds value to their starting 5 and deepens their bench for 1.5 seasons. If/when Fultz is ready, he’ll step into Walker’s shoes in 2019-20 season.

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    • KCelts

      No they’ll never ever do that. They wouldn’t let Kemba go for nothing. Let’s be real now.

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  2. stretch123

    Cavs could use a Nic Batum to add some type of toughness to that team…

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      • Wellington igunbor

        yep IT is just not fitting with this team for kevin love to be effective he needs to play beside a PG who doesn’t need the ball as much

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        • IT for Kemba is a terrible trade for Charlotte. Also, what do you think Kemba is? He needs the ball just as much as IT would. Kemba isn’t a spot up shooter and trying to turn him into one would be counterproductive to trading from him in the first place.

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            • Kemba’s career shooting line of 41% from the field and 35% from deep compared to Isaiah’s 44% from the field and 36% from deep might suggest otherwise. Mid range jumpers? Probably. Kemba is one of the best out there in terms of creating space and shooting. But the players around LeBron need to be able to shoot consistently from three, which Isaiah is a more consistent shooter.

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  3. MagnumAragorn83

    He’s the face of their franchise (on court). Talk about starting completely over.

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  4. SouthsideSlugger

    knicks…give up Frank and Willy Hernangomez. Charlotte needs youth and NYK needs a playmaker besides “tired” KP.

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  5. dust44

    Kemba to the Spurs for DeJounte Murray, and a pick of some sort. Gives them a young player and some draft capital

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  6. Z-A

    I think you guys are missing why Kemba is available. The team trading for Kemba undoubtedly will HAVE to take back a contract like Dwight or Batum.

    If you add Walker to MKG or Williams you’re going to see a bigger return. B/c their contracts are more palatable.

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