Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker’s Value


Kemba Walker has had a great career since being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 9th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

But is is time for a contract extension for Kemba. We all know he is worth keeping, but how much is we worth per year?

If the actual NBA were a bit more like the video game NBA 2K15, I wouldn’t see an issue giving Kemba Walker an extension in the neighborhood of a little more than 12 mil a year. Using the joystick to control a point guard with an ultra quick first step and an accurate mid range J makes him a top 8 floor general in a virtual world.

I’m a homer. I said it.

Being objective in an article like this is difficult, but when considering a players true value, it’s a must. I don’t think I would be wrong in stating that most Hornet (it still feels good writing that) fans want Kemba back, but how much is he worth?

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He’s currently eligible for an extension, but it must be completed by October 31st. His numbers were good last year, but his percentages were a bit down. Will a second year with Big Al Jefferson and newly acquired Lance Stephenson improve on these numbers?

Only time will tell, but that’s a luxury the Hornets may not have. Getting an extension done before the Halloween deadline will keep him off the restricted market and allow the team and his agent to set his price. Adding a third team who would sign him to a restricted free agent tender only raises his cost. Lets take a look at some recent PG contracts and decide for ourselves.

Kyle Lowry recently signed a contract extension worth 48 million over 4 years. Toronto used Bird rights to retain him because of salary cap issues. If you’re not familiar with Bird rights, a player must be with a team 3 years before a team can go above the salary cap to resign said player.

Lowry was a big part of the surprisingly successful Raptors team that finished first in the Atlantic division. He had career highs in points(17.9), assists(7.4), and tied a career high in rebounds(4.7). Lowry’s extension doubled his previous salary of 6 million a year and his production warranted it. The one definite that Kemba has over Lowry is age. Lowry, a seven-year veteran, will turn 29 this year while Kemba is only 24 years old.

Eric Bledsoe was the other high profile point guard to score a big deal this off-season. “Mini-LeBron” is a true 2-way one guard who can score, distribute, and defend most guards in the league. He averaged a career high in points(17.7) but only managed to play in 43 games last year because of a knee injury. Bledsoe is on the verge of turning 25 years old and secured a 5 year 70 million dollar max deal.

These deals should be the parameters that Hornet fans can expect Kemba’s possible extension to fall under. Personally, there is no way I believe Bledsoe is worth SEVENTY MILLION DOLLARS, but this is a business where players can demand trades or threaten holdouts to drive their value up.

With age on Kemba’s side, I can see him commanding more than Lowry, but I would be hesitant to offer him more than 12.5 million per year. In today’s NBA, elite point guards don’t come a dime a dozen, but serviceable ones are readily available. This allows money to be allocated at more positions of need or even depth. With San Antonio’s recent success, it reinforces the importance of competitive 2nd and 3rd teams.

Like I said earlier, I’m a homer and I want Kemba Walker on this team for the foreseeable future. He’s a winner. He’s proven to be dependable and willing to put the team on his back and make game winning shots. There is a limit to how much I’m willing to spend to keep him here though. I can live with a 4 year 50 million dollar deal, but much more than that would give me hesitation. I want a team that can win now and still be set up for success in the future. Kemba’s deal will be a huge factor in determining how successful the Hornets can be. We can only hope Rich Cho and MJ continue to make good decisions behind the scenes that enable this team to be a contender for years.

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