After eight seasons in Charlotte, Kemba Walker is set to hit free agency when the clock strikes midnight on June 30. The franchise’s all-time leading scorer may not be the marquee name in a free agent class that features the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and others, but there are multiple teams rumored to be interested in his services, as the New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers have all been tied to Walker this summer.
After being named to the All-NBA team this season, the Hornets now have the ability to offer Walker a five-year, $221 million super max contract, while other teams can only offer a four-year contract worth $140 million. Walker, who has continually expressed his interest in remaining a Hornet, said Thursday he’d be will to take less than the super max to help the Hornets build a better team around him.
“Yeah, I would take less,” Walker said. “Sure, why not? I would take less.”
The Hornets have made the playoffs just twice during Walker’s tenure, each time losing in the opening round to the Miami Heat, and have not reached the postseason since the 2015-2016 season. Additions like Nick Batum and Jeremy Lamb, and past draft picks like Miles Bridges and Malik Monk, have been unable to push the Hornets to annual playoff contention. Still, Walker remains fiercely loyal to the team that drafted him.
“If it doesn’t work out (with the Hornets), I’m definitely prepared to play somewhere else,” Waker said. “But I’d love to be in Charlotte.”