Kemba Walker‘s free agency will be a fascinating situation to watch this offseason, since it’s hard to determine what the best-case scenario is for the Hornets, writes Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report. Re-signing Walker to a maximum salary contract would limit Charlotte’s ability to acquire help around him, but one scout thinks the Hornets would “be like an expansion team” without him, per Weitzman.
Complicating matters further? Walker will become eligible for a super-max contract, worth an extra $30MM+ over five years, if he earns a spot on this year’s All-NBA teams, which is a distinct possibility. Only the Hornets could offer him that super-max, but doing so would mean paying the point guard an average of $44MM annually through 2023/24.
“It’d be like the John Wall deal,” one front office source told Weitzman. “They should have traded him last year, when his value was high. They could have just reset.”
With lucrative deals for Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all set to come off the Hornets’ books in 2020, the team wouldn’t necessarily be mired in salary-cap hell for years if it re-signs Walker. Still, there’d be no obvious way to add a capable No. 2 option behind the point guard anytime soon.
“The surrounding pieces aren’t so bad,” another front office source said to Weitzman. “They just need another guy in there so they can all slide down a role.”
Here’s more from around the Southeast:
- In the view of David Aldridge of The Athletic, the time is right for the Wizards to trade Bradley Beal and go all-in on a rebuild. While a Beal-less Wizards squad would be terrible in the short term, it’s the franchise’s best route to contention in the long term, Aldridge argues.
- In his final NBA season, Dwyane Wade was an effective bench scorer off the bench for the Heat, averaging 15.0 PPG, good for second on the team. With Wade no longer around, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines how Miami might look to replace his scoring in its second unit, taking into account the club’s limited cap flexibility.
- The Hawks and Hornets each hosted pre-draft workouts for prospects on Wednesday, the teams announced in a pair of press releases. Atlanta took a look at Ky Bowman (Boston College), Armoni Brooks (Houston), Steven Enoch (Louisville), Caleb Martin (Nevada), Garrison Mathews (Lipscomb), and Kaleb Wesson (Ohio State), while Charlotte auditioned Nicolas Claxton (Georgia), Chris Clemons (Campbell), Hassani Gravett (South Carolina), Dewan Hernandez (Miami), Ronshad Shabazz (Appalchian State), and Lagerald Vick (Kansas).