A New Team Enters the Kemba Walker Fray
Ahead of Free Agency, former ESPN NBA insider and current New York Times NBA reporter Mark Stein announced on his Twitter account that the Boston Celtics are emerging as a “stealth suitor” to land free agent and Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker.
After much of the talk being between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Hornets, with Kemba stating that he’d take less money to stay in the Queen City, Boston is slowly emerging from the shadows for potential Kyrie Irving replacements and would be an interesting choice for the 29-year-old.
As Stein pointed out, the Celtics situation cap wise is not as hard and set as most of the other teams in the NBA at the moment.
Why Would the Celtics go After Kemba?
I think this is fairly obvious, but we’ll take a deep dive into it. It’s pretty much a given that Irving, the current Celtics point guard and Terry Rozier, the team’s backup point guard, will both be leaving for possibly sunnier skies.
The team would have the money to pursue Walker should Rozier, Irving and Al Horford all leave the team during free agency. Horford and Irving leaving would clear up the most cap space as both would leave a combined $52 million on the table.
All that money would have to go somewhere, and they would probably be more than happy to throw most, if not all, of that money into Walker’s wallet.
What do the Hornets do with Kemba now?
As for what sort of situation the Hornets are now in, this will probably force the team’s hand in terms of how much they were going to pay Walker for his new contract.
The Lakers have been making as many efforts as possible to clear some more salary cap space following the Anthony Davis trade to land one more max player on the roster. As for the Celtics, they have a very young team as it stands as both Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum have yet to reach 25 years old and could prolong Walker’s career as he approaches 30 years old.
The Hornets probably have the least to give Walker in terms of player personnel to reach the playoffs, as the team has only done it twice since Walker arrived in Charlotte in 2011 and is usually stuck in a position of being too good to get a valuable draft asset and not good enough to make the postseason consistently.
The more envious situations with arguably the two most historic franchises in the NBA could force Charlotte’s hand and set up Walker for that $200 million-plus supermax payday that most think Charlotte will give to Walker.
Should the price tag be too high, we have broken down who some of the people that could replace the Hornets superstar, but we still believe Kemba will ultimately resign with the Hornets. We will see how it all plays out when teams can start negotiating with players starting July 1.
Update 6/25/19, 4:10 p.m.
Following the news Kristaps Porzingis would be offered a max contract by the Dallas, it was reported by Marc Stein that the Mavericks would attempt to make a run at Kemba