Despite leaving the Hornets in free agency this past summer, Kemba Walker still holds a positive relationship with owner Michael Jordan and the city of Charlotte.
Walker, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Hornets, opted to sign a four-year, maximum-salary deal worth $141MM with the Celtics in early July.
“MJ is always going to be a special guy in my life,” Walker said last week after his return to Charlotte, as relayed by Steve Reed of the Associated Press. The Celtics wound up winning the game 108-87. “He’s one of the reasons I am where I am today.”
Jordan drafted Walker No. 9 overall in the 2011 draft, starting his professional career in a Hornets uniform. Walker has rapidly improved since his rookie season and is currently known as one of the league’s elite point guards, holding per-game averages of 24.5 points and 4.5 assists with Boston on the season.
“He gave me the opportunity to flourish as a basketball player,” Walker said of Jordan. “He gave me the opportunity to grow as a man in this community. So, MJ definitely has a special place in my heart for sure.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:
- Count Jordan and former Hornets head coach Steve Clifford among those who aren’t jumping on the NBA’s “load management” bandwagon, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. “Our guys aren’t used to sitting on the second game of a back-to-back.… We’re not sitting guys just to sit,” said Clifford, who currently coaches the Magic. “For me, my background frankly, it all goes back to expectations. Being with Michael in Charlotte, Michael used to tell them every year, you’re paid to play 82 games.”
- The Wizards are working to find a difficult balance between developing young players while still competing in today’s league, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. Washington has young players with high potential such as Rui Hachimura (21) and Thomas Bryant (22), along with established veterans such as Bradley Beal (26), Isaiah Thomas (30) and others.