Rumor: Charlotte Hornets tried to engage the San Antonio Spurs on a Kemba Walker-Kawhi Leonard trade

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 21: Teammates Tony Parker
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 21: Teammates Tony Parker /

The Charlotte Hornets reportedly discussed a potential blockbuster trade with the San Antonio Spurs.

According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, “The Charlotte Hornets are rumored to have tried to engage on a Leonard deal built around Kemba Walker, which is where many believe the Walker rumors started.” Kyler added that “there is a growing sense that if the Hornets could find a way to pry Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard out of San Antonio, they pull the trigger.” This is just the latest development and rumor surrounding the Charlotte Hornets and Kemba Walker as the plot continues to thicken.

A recent report from Jalen Rose said that Kawhi wants out of San Antonio. ( Whether or not that report is true, remains to be seen but it’s worth noting that the Spurs’ general manager said that there is “no issue” between the team and the player. This news stems from a lengthy injury that Leonard has been dealing with this season and the Spurs being unable to attract big name free agents.

Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan refuted reports that Kemba Walker was on the trade block but did say that he would listen to offers and would only trade his all-star point guard for another all-star player, specifically naming Kawhi Leonard. ( That’s where things get interesting. Why would MJ name drop Leonard when talking about a potential trade? Is it just a coincidence or did Charlotte engage San Antonio in trade talks?

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If there was ever a time to try to trade for a superstar level player like Kawhi, this would be it. He is not only dealing with an injury but, if reports are true, he doesn’t want to be with his current team. Although, this rumor would go against what Jordan indicated as he said “It’s not like we are shopping him” when referring to the trade rumors. (

Kawhi Leonard is averaging 16.2 points per game, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in nine games so far this season. Although he is having a down year because of an injury, the 26-year old is a two-time all-star, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and a former Finals MVP. Just last year, he put up a career-high 25.5 PPG.

As for Kemba, he is averaging 21.8 points per game, 5.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals this season. He leads the Hornets in points, assists, steals, field goals made, three’s made and free throws made.

A potential trade between Charlotte and San Antonio would most likely include a draft pick being sent to the Spurs. Since Walker and Leonard’s salaries don’t match up, another player like Jeremy Lamb would have to be dealt along with Kemba to make the move work.

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It’s unclear how far these trade talks got but I’d assume that they didn’t get very far. Still, it’s an interesting layer to the trade rumors surrounding Kemba Walker. It will be interesting to see if anything else happens as the NBA’s February 8th trade deadline draws near.