Walker has played eight seasons with the Hornets after he was drafted by them with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. During that time, he has been fiercely loyal to the team while expressing his love for the city of Charlotte. He hasn’t been shy in stating how much he’d like to be in Charlotte for the long run, but the team hasn’t done him many favors, failing to surround him with an even slightly credible supporting cast as the Hornets have been stuck in a slew of mediocrity throughout his time there.
To add insult to injury, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, the Hornets are not only unwilling to offer a supermax contract to Walker, but their offer won’t even come close due to the team’s salary cap situation.
"The Hornets have the option under NBA rules to pay Walker far more than any other team: up to $221 million over five seasons. But an informed source says the Hornets’ offer won’t come close to $221 million. Owner Michael Jordan will not sign off on a contract that would push the Hornets into tax jeopardy."
The deal the Hornets offered is rumored to be around five years, $160 million, or in other words, about $60 million short of the supermax. That is just flat out disrespectful to a guy who is currently the greatest player in franchise history who played on a team-friendly deal over the last few years, while Nic Batum, Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all got paid more than him. This undoubtedly made an already frustrating situation even worse for Walker, which has played a big role in why the rumors of him leaving have heated up so much over the last 24 hours.
Still, as of this writing, there are still just over two days until free agency opens, and that is enough time for Charlotte to offer Walker what he deserves. Rumors are just rumors until they become reality, so the Hornets still have a shot at retaining their best player.
Chance Walker re-signs with Charlotte: 30%