Charlotte Hornets Rumors: Kemba Walker “more likely” to leave in free agency

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Charlotte Hornets star Kemba Walker will be a free agent after this season, and could very well be headed elsewhere during the off-season.

Despite being focused on making the playoffs for the first time in two years, the thought of losing star point guard Kemba Walker in free agency this summer has got to be on the mind of Charlotte Hornets fans.

Losing a player the caliber of Walker for nothing in return would be a nightmare for the Hornets. Fans have been optimistic about the possibility of retaining him over the summer, but a recent report from Sam Amick of The Athletic could leave a sour taste in some mouths.

During a Q&A session yesterday, Amick was asked what the odds are of Walker staying in Charlotte.

“At this point, based on scuttlebutt around the league but without direct clarity from his side, it feels like he’s more likely to leave than stay.” Amick said.

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This is obviously not what Charlotte Hornets fans want to hear, but there’s still a lot of time between now and free agency, so things can change. Walker has stated his desire to remain in Charlotte multiple times, but you can’t blame him if he does indeed decide to sign elsewhere as a free agent.

One would assume that winning will come into play when Walker does make a decision in free agency. He has only made the playoffs twice in his eight year career. Charlotte getting into the playoffs this season could boost their chances of re-signing him come July.

Regardless if the Hornets make it into the playoffs or not, plenty of winning teams will be lining up for the chance to sign Walker. He’s established himself as one of the top point guards in the entire league and will be heavily sought after.

While they aren’t winning right now, the New York Knicks are a definite candidate for Walker. Not only is he from New York, but the team also has two max contract slots open. It would not be surprising at all to see New York try and pry Walker from Charlotte and pair him with another star.

Some other teams that I could personally see showing interest in Walker are the Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers.

It’s never easy losing your star player, but if that is the case, it would put the Hornets into a clear rebuild, something that some fans think the organization should have began years ago.

They already have some young pieces in Miles Bridges and Malik Monk, and they will be able to strictly focus on player development and slowly growing year after year. Losing sucks, but it’s something that Hornets fans will likely have to go through if they lose Walker.

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We are four months away from NBA Free Agency, and you can expect the rumors to just pick up from here. We certainly hope Walker re-signs with the Hornets, but it is certainly not set in stone.