Kemba Walker doesn’t sound like he’s heading to New York anytime soon. It wasn’t an easy season for Walker and the Charlotte Hornets, but the way Walker is addressing his future, it seems unlikely he’s planning on going anywhere.
The Charlotte Hornets franchise player seemed to face an uncertain future for much of the 2017-18 campaign. The Hornets explored trade options for Walker, with rumors that the Cleveland Cavaliers were interested in bringing him in to play with LeBron James. There are also the occasional whispers that he’d like to end up in New York and help his hometown Knicks finally get things together again.
These rumors have been tough on Walker because he’s never asked for a trade, but has had to deal with speculation about his future because Charlotte’s debate about what to do with him. Walker is an unrestricted free agent next summer, and if they felt he was unlikely to re-sign with the Hornets, there would be reason to make a move to maximize return on a star player.
But Walker spoke to The Athletic and said it’s doubtful he ends up in New York, explaining that he wants to stay in Charlotte for a “long time.
“As far as seeing me in New York, I doubt it,” Walker replied. “I’m a Hornet, and I’m planning on being a Hornet for a long time, so, yeah, I’m not sure about that (New York).”
He spoke fondly of New York and is active in the community there, which is part of what sparks these rumors in the first place. But Walker stressed that “it’s not up to me right now” but also made it clear that he’s not “planning to leave,” which means it’s still on the Hornets to decide if it’s worth keeping Walker around and signing him long-term.
But it does truly seem like he’s excited about what’s happening in Charlotte. Walker told The Athletic he’s thrilled the team signed Tony Parker, and there’s reason to have confidence that Malik Monk can turn into a star in Charlotte, which means there’s reason to be excited about the future for the Hornets. This is especially true because it’s a future that seems more and more likely to include Walker in the long term.