Would the Charlotte Hornets really trade All Star point guard Kemba Walker? YES!
Do I see it happening? NO!
Why? Glad you asked...
According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday, the team has put Kemba on the market. But that doesn't mean he is going to get traded folks. So everyone just take a chill pill. The roof on the Spectrum Center is not falling.
Why is it even possible Charlotte would trade away the face of the franchise and a crowd favorite? Look at the salary structure of the Hornets and it is full of players making tons of money but not having the kind of production that justifies their pay. The only way to possibly get those contracts off the books is package said player or players with Kemba. That's the business of the NBA. If a team wants to take say Nic Batum off the Hornets hands, Kemba will have to be a part of the deal to make it happen. Why else would the Charlotte Hornets do the deal? They need cap help at this point.
Batum is still owed $100 million over the next 4 years. By the time Batum's deal ends, he will be 31 years old and will be making $27 million that season. How is his production? This season, Batum is going to make $22 million and is averaging just 10 points per game, 4 assists per game, and 4 rebounds per contest.
Compare that to Kemba who is making only $12 million this season and is averaging 21 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. There is something VERY wrong with this picture.
You can't blame Batum for getting his money. He hit the market at the right time and capitalized. But we can blame him for not producing more, but that's another blog.
According to Woj's report, other contracts the Hornets could be looking to unload include center Dwight Howard who still has $47 million left for the next 2 years, forward Marvin Williams who is owed $42 million over the next 3 years, and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who has 3 years left on his deal and will make $39 million over the rest of that contract.
Is there a team that will take any of these contracts RIGHT NOW to get Kemba? I don't think so RIGHT NOW.
Which leaves the Hornets with their current roster and the team is currently on an upward trend.
They have won 2 in a row, have won 5 of their last 7 games, currently 11th in the Eastern Conference and are 4 games out the final playoff spot in the East. The playoffs are in reach folks if they have finally figured it out.
The NBA trade deadline is February 8th. The Hornets have 11 games before the deadline. 4 games against teams with a losing record and 6 games against teams who would be in the playoffs if they started today. The other game is on the road against Denver who has a winning record and is a half game out the final spot in the West.
This a critical stretch for the Hornets.
But even if they flop, I don't think they move Kemba unless someone takes one of those high priced contracts off of Charlotte's book.
So the real question might be, how desperate will other teams be to grab an All Star guard?
I for one would like to see Kemba stay. He is the team's best player. The 2nd leading scorer all time in Hornets history and is very close to becoming #1 in points. Would love to see him get that mark here in Charlotte. He's been the heart and soul of this franchise since he got here back in 2011.
But let's not forget, this is a business... need I say more. You know the rest.