Kemba Walker does not want to be traded. The Charlotte Hornets’ All-Star point guard has made it clear that he would be devastated if the only team he’s played for during his NBA career shipped him elsewhere in an attempt to shed one of their bad contracts, as rumors that circulated on Friday indicated might happen.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN, the Hornets would like to hold discussions that would lead to Walker being sent to his hometown team. Begley reports that Charlotte wants to have Walker-centric talks with the New York Knicks, even if the Knicks would be hesitant to do what would be necessary to acquire the New York native.
Begley wrote that the Knicks would not have trouble sending the Hornets a young piece, whether it’s a player like rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina or a first-round draft pick. The trouble, however, comes in with Charlotte’s desire to move a bloated contract.
“[ESPN’s Adrian] Wojnarowski reports that Charlotte appears eager to shed one of its less desirable contracts,” Begley wrote. “That would mean the Knicks would likely need to take on extra salary to acquire Walker, which was something New York was hesitant to do in trading Carmelo Anthony over the summer.”
Walker is a free agent after the 2018-19 season, and the $12 million he is in line to make next year would be appealing for anyone. But taking on a bigger contract — Wojnarowski specified Nic Batum, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, and Cody Zeller in his original report on the deal — is going to be a hangup for most teams, especially if that bigger contract would complicate re-signing Walker once he hits free agency.
Still, Walker has something of a history in Madison Square Garden, and it would be really cool to watch him suit up for the Knicks. If, of course, they decided it was worth taking on one of the Hornets’ less savory contracts.