Rumor: Charlotte Hornets discussed Kemba Walker trade with Orlando

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 4: Kemba Walker /

The Charlotte Hornets have reportedly discussed a trade with the Orlando Magic centered around Kemba Walker.

According to Mike Ortiz Jr. of DYST Now and formerly of Bleacher Report, “There have been some talks between the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets involving Kemba Walker and Nikola Vucevic. He also mentioned that the Queen City team wants to attach Nicolas Batum in any deal.

It’s unclear how true this rumor is or how far the two teams got when discussing the potential deal but it is a trade that could make sense for both teams. Charlotte would be able to dump Nic Batum’s massive salary while Orlando would get the all-star point guard that they desperately need. It would also reunite Kemba with Steve Clifford who the Magic hired this summer.

The Hornets are set to pay Nicolas over $75 million over the next three seasons after signing him to a lucrative five-year, $120 million deal back in 2016. It appears that Mitch Kupchak isn’t willing to possibly move his most valuable asset in Kemba Walker in order to shed Batum’s salary.

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Kemba Walker’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2018-19 season and unless Charlotte can convince him to stay and sign him to a max contract, he could leave with the team getting nothing in return. With this deal, it would at least allow them to create cap space and flexibility going forward.

Nikola Vucevic will make $12.75 million this upcoming season and will be a free agent next summer which would allow for the Hornets to have even more freed up cap space.

A potential deal would have to include either Evan Fournier or Bismak Biyombo or a combination of Terrence Ross and D.J. Augustin/Jonathon Simmons in order to match up contracts with Walker and Batum. Picks could also be involved but it’s unclear at this stage.

The Hornets were reportedly shopping Kemba last season near the trade deadline and rumors were surrounding a deal leading up to the 2018 NBA Draft so it’s not surprising to see his name involved in trade rumors.

With a trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers looking unlikely, Orlando could be in prime position to land Kemba and Nic, reuniting them with former coach Steve Clifford.

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This would be a deal of blockbuster proportions as Kemba Walker is in the prime of his career and coming off of back to back all-star game appearances. It will be interesting to see if Charlotte’s willing to trade their best player/all-time leading scorer in order to dump Batum’s salary. While it would create cap flexibility, the front office would risk angering a fan base who have already been put through a lot in the last decade.