What a Kemba-less Charlotte Hornets team would look like and what it means going forward

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Some rough times could be awaiting the Charlotte Hornets with the likely departure of the teams best player, Kemba Walker, in free agency.

Multiple sources around the league are saying the Boston Celtics are a near lock to land Charlotte Hornets perennial All-Star point guard, Kemba Walker. This comes to little surprise after hearing reports that Charlotte offered their all-time leading scorer a five-year deal worth only $160 million.

We knew Kemba was open to taking less than the supermax contract he was eligible for after making the All-NBA team, but $60 million less is frankly, a slap in the face to the player that has been the face of the franchise for some time now.

I’m hearing the two parties are so far off in negotiations that a mutual agreement is highly unlikely.  Kemba has already informed the Hornets front office that he will be taking his talents outside of Charlotte for the first time in his professional career.

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A Kemba Walker departure represents everything the Hornets fan base was hoping to avoid. It signifies a new era in Hornets basketball is on the horizon. An era that won’t yield winning seasons nor playoff appearances anytime soon.

The turmoil that the Hornets will soon face could have easily been avoided if the front office traded Walker ahead of last seasons trade deadline.  I mentioned the front office should have made this decision in a previous article when they had the chance that would’ve helped immensely in starting a rebuild with at least another first-round pick.

Even though Kemba’s inevitable departure isn’t official just yet, it might be time to start preparing for life post-Kemba.  To make matters worse, in addition to losing Kemba, the Hornets are also unlikely to bring back their second-leading scorer, Jeremy Lamb.

There goes a combined nightly average of over 40 points per game out the door.  A team that failed to make the playoffs simply can’t afford to lose that type of production.

With Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb heading out of town, it begs the question, who is the best player remaining?  How many games can this weakened roster win realistically?  If a 21-year old Miles Bridges is your best returning player that is coming off a rookie season best categorized as decent, then that’s a serious cause for concern.

A roster comprised of inexperienced rookies and unathletic veterans could lead to perhaps the weakest roster in the NBA.  Expect the Hornets to be among the worst teams in the league next year that would be lucky to net 20 wins.

It’s safe to say the Hornets are in for a very long, forgettable season in 2019-20.  Hopefully not as bad as the 2011 season in which they went a dismal 7-59, but something along those lines could very well come to fruition for Charlotte once again.

If the Hornets season does indeed go as I predict, a top three pick could be in store heading into the 2020 draft. If so, capitalizing on a high draft selection will become crucial considering their history of missing in the lottery.  However, new general manager Mitch Kupchak has shown he’s capable of selecting talented college players and has experience in turning teams around.

If the 2020 draft lottery is kind to the Hornets and awards them with a top three pick, here are some names to remember; Cole Anthony of the North Carolina Tar Heels is one to keep an eye on as he relieves Coby White in Chapel Hill.  Cole Anthony will be the most talented guard Roy Williams has ever coached, which is scary to think about and will be given the keys to a fast paced, up and down offense.

James Wiseman is the other top prospect that Hornets fans should already be keeping track of next season.  The dominant big man is the highest rated recruit in the nation and will be playing for the Memphis Tigers next season under Penny Hardaway.

I’m one of the biggest Kemba Walker fans you’ll find, and I hate to see him go.  He’s done so much for the franchise and I appreciate all of his efforts over the years.  But we all need to remember that the NBA is a business at the end of the day, and Kemba needs to do what’s best for himself and his family.

Next. So, what now? What's next for the Charlotte Hornets?. dark

In this case, I feel Kemba should be selfish by seeking the most possible money from a team that gives him the best chance to win.  I respect his decision, wish him well, and hope the Hornets can recover and rebuild a team the city can be proud of in a timely manner.

Until then, Michael Jordan should and will be heavily scrutinized for the mishandling of his former All-Star.