The Hornets are keeping an eye on the point guard free agent market and are considering the possibility of reuniting with Kemba Walker, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (video link).
Walker was drafted by Charlotte out of UConn with the ninth overall pick in 2011 and spent his first eight NBA seasons with the Hornets before signing with Boston as a free agent in 2019. He made three All-Star teams during his time in Charlotte and earned a fourth All-Star nod in his first year as a Celtic, but has been slowed by knee problems since then.
After being traded from Boston to Oklahoma City during the 2021 offseason, Walker was bought out by the Thunder and signed with the Knicks. However, he was limited to just 37 games with New York in 2021/22 and didn’t look like his old self. The 32-year-old was traded to Detroit in a salary-dump deal earlier this month and is expected to be bought out again, though he remains on the Pistons‘ official roster for the time being.
Having been bought out twice in two years, Walker would seem unlikely to land more than a minimum-salary contract in free agency, but the Hornets could theoretically offer more than that — they have their full mid-level and bi-annual exceptions available.
Walker’s level of interest in returning to Charlotte is unclear.
The Hornets currently have 13 players on standard contracts and only one of them, LaMelo Ball, is a true point guard, though Terry Rozier will also have some ball-handling responsibilities. Charlotte seems likely to fill one of its two remaining roster spots with a point guard.
According to Charania, the Hornets are also mulling the idea of bringing back Isaiah Thomas, who was solid down the stretch last season and emerged as a locker room leader in Charlotte. Thomas is still unsigned after averaging 8.3 PPG on .433/.397/.933 shooting in 17 games (12.9 MPG) for the Hornets last season.
The Hornets are in no rush to fill their two open roster spots, as they continue to monitor Miles Bridges‘ legal situation, Charania notes.