Kemba Walker Discusses Decision To Leave Charlotte

Kemba Walker says he understands the Hornets‘ decision to offer him a contract worth less than he was eligible for, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. That move led Walker to leave the franchise where he spent the first eight years of his career and sign with the Celtics, even though Boston’s max offer of $141MM over four years was about $19MM less than he could have made on his five-year offer from Charlotte. The Hornets elected not to extend a super-max offer that would have paid him $221MM.

“They offered, but it just wasn’t an offer I could accept. I guess that’s the (most) money that they had,” Walker said. “I know they didn’t want to go over the (luxury) tax. Which I completely understand. It’s a business at the end of the day, and I respect the decision that they made. No hard feelings at all. I still love that organization and everything around it. It was tough for me (to leave), and I know it was tough for them; for MJ (owner Michael Jordan) and (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak) to let me go. But at the end of the day you have to do tough things in life. It just happens.”

During his time in Charlotte, Walker was committed not just to the team, but to the city. He said he remains grateful for the opportunity that Jordan provided when he took Walker with the ninth pick in the 2011 draft. Walker recalls the struggles of a 7-59 record in his first season and said the community remained supportive as the franchise improved. He said he felt obligated to give back to the city and try to inspire young people.

However, Charlotte made the playoffs just twice while Walker was there and got bounced in the first round both times. He immediately noticed a different atmosphere in Boston.

“Here, these guys are about winning — everything is about winning,” Walker said. “About getting to the playoffs every single year. You can feel that culture, that vibe, that environment each and every day. You walk into (the Celtics’) practice facility and they have all the (championship) banners up. The arena has all the banners up. It is such a legendary organization. That’s all they know is win! It’s a very high expectation. And that can be tough, too, to come into a situation like that, but that’s what I want. I want to have that expectation and to compete at the highest level. I think I have a real shot at doing that here with the Celtics.”

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19 thoughts on “Kemba Walker Discusses Decision To Leave Charlotte

  1. shawn hemp

    Worst signing of the off season. 6’0 pg that plays no D and shots 35% from 3. He couldn’t even beat Ricky Rubio with a superior team. I can’t wait for boston to go away

    • ray win

      Walker is a leader unlike Kyree. Remember he led an under talented team at Uconn through a 5 game upset tour to win the Big East, then a 6 game upset filled series of games to an NCAA title. I will take that kind of leadership and attitude any day.

      • amk3510

        Kyrie was clutch in a massive NBA finals upset. But sure talk about what Kemba did in his Jr year of college like thats more impressive.

    • Curtisrowe

      Yeah I mean, its too bad Boston didn’t decide to pay Terry Rozier 20 million a year. What were they thinking? Stupid, stupid Boston!

    • amk3510

      Thats what happens when you miss out on every top tier name you go after in a 3 year span. Celtics whiffed on building the super team their fans swore was coming so bad.

      • Curtisrowe

        I never heard a single fan “swear the Celtics were building a super team” Hyperbole is not your friend.

          • Curtisrowe

            I’ve never heard any Celtics fans ever speak the words…”super team”

            You haven’t either.

            • dynasty in boston

              Quite right. These are the same sheeple who hate the Pats, Sox, and Bruins. They have no team with comparable success-it’s easier to hate our teams

    • Chucktoad1

      I’d have to say the guy that replaced him in Charlotte was the biggest head scratcher contract. In a vacuum Kyrie’s a better player but I think Walkers a better fit.

      Besides no good offensive PGs play D
      Lillard…uh uh
      Kyrie…ummmm no
      Paul…used to and still tries
      Honestly and sadly Kyle Lowry’s the best PG that plays D.

      • IslandFlava

        I am not a Kyrie fan, that’s for sure… but man Kyrie is sooo much better than Kemba that isn’t even fair to compare them.
        Also people forget that Kyrie had by far the best season of his career last year… despite playing in Boston, & all he gets is hate, SMH!!!

        • Curtisrowe

          Kyrie is an excellent player, no doubt about it. That doesn’t mean that Kemba is even close to being a bad signing though. They both can ball.

  2. Simple Fan

    Celtics stock goes > way up. In my view they’re over being anything other than quarter-to-semifinals material, however Kanter to me then it’s shaky… As a fan of Portland I can’t say this guy is just going to *scare* you in the playoffs so tell D.A. for me personally, if you don’t lose him, then you can’t Be Like Mike. If U can’t be like Mike then that’s OK but don’t *scare* Kemba especially on a squad of tons of good players

    That’s the only thing about Kemba. If his new team does it bad then Kanter will ruin his career this year. Just from one Fan’s point of perspective, if they don’t ditch Kanter before the season opener then he Kan’t do anything else from there

  3. phillyballers

    Healthy Kyrie > Healthy Kemba. But that being said it isnt a big dropoff. You’re going from like… I mean if you’re ranking PGs it’s like 2 spots behind Kyrie. If you’re talking top overall… Both are Top 30. Kyrie higher obv.

  4. GMB 883

    Yea Shawn, a 6’ PG who scores 29pts a game that LaBron and a lot of other teams wanted. Add him for 20 to 22pts a game with Tatum, Brown, a healthy Hayward, Williams, Kanter or Pourior in the middle w/ Smart, Edwards, Grant Williams, Henderson, etc. off the bench and it’s a good not necessarily great team that can develop while adding pieces after evaluation. They are expected to make the playoffs and should be a tough team to beat. Need to learn to play D if they want to go to a final.

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