Kemba Walker is going to be at the center of one of the biggest stories in the NBA this offseason.
Sam Amick of the Athletic hosted a Q&A on Thursday, and when asked about the odds of Walker staying in Charlotte, he said, “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.”
The 28-year old Walker is averaging 25 points, four rebounds, and six assists this season, and should he make an All-NBA team, will have the qualifications for a supermax contract.
Just a few months ago, Walker gave an interview on ESPN’s The Jump. He stated that Mitch Kupchak and Michael Jordan know “what they got to do” when it comes to Walker making a decision about free agency (simply implying he wants more talent on the roster).
Charlotte was active in the trade market but was unable to secure any actual deals. Two notable players they pursued were Marc Gasol and Harrison Barnes.
Should Walker decide to leave in free agency, there would be no reason any fan could blame him. After being surrounded by mediocre talent for the entirety of his recent All-Star career, it’s safe to assume he wants to win.
This winning mentality is on display all the time. Last year, Walker said he was “tired” of missing the playoffs in an interview with Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell.
“At this point, I want to win. I want to be in the playoffs.”
“I’ve been there twice in seven years, and it’s just not fun… I’ve always felt like I’m a winning player. Like I deserved it to be in the playoffs – to be battling.”
“That’s what it will be all about in the future.”
At the end of the day, Walker’s pending free agency is going to determine the future of the Hornets franchise, either for better or worse; but at the same time, he shouldn’t be criticized for his decision.
Kemba Walker is a remarkably loyal player, and the NBA needs more like him. Should he leave, the team he signs with (whoever it is) is getting an exceptional player.