Kemba Walker Trade Rumors: Cavaliers No Longer Interested in Hornets PG

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 8:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets handles the ball against the Indiana Pacers on April 8, 2018 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Cavaliers' pursuit of Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker has reportedly slowed down considerably. 

Although rumblings surfaced prior to the NBA draft that Cleveland was interested in trading for Walker, ESPN's Brian Windhorst told ESPN Cleveland on Thursday it doesn't look like the Hornets floor general will be donning wine and gold in the near future. 

"I think that door has closed," he said. 

Prior to the June 21 draft, Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon reported Walker "could be in play" for the Cavaliers. 

However, the draft came and went without a deal. 

As Bleacher Report's Ken Berger noted, Cleveland's "best chance at such a deal would seem to have involved the eighth pick in the draft, which didn't happen."

Instead, the Cavaliers selected former Alabama point guard Collin Sexton at No. 8 overall to fill the void in their backcourt. 

Now, the four-time defending Eastern Conference champions are scrambling to make improvements that could entice LeBron James to stay in Northeast Ohio. 

According to Windhorst, Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the Cavs "have been working on several trade and salary-cap-clearing possibilities to be aggressive in free agency."

The issue is that the Cavaliers don't have many enticing pieces to shop in order to gain financial flexibility.

George Hill is owed a whopping $19 million next season—his 2019-20 salary is only guaranteed for $1 million—Tristan Thompson is on the hook for two more years and $36 million, JR Smith will make $14.7 million in 2018-19 and Jordan Clarkson is owed $25.9 million through the 2019-20 campaign. 

As for Walker, who's about to enter a contract year, Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak has been unequivocal in his belief that the two-time All-Star is a core component of the team's long-term vision. 

"I don't think it is anybody's goal to lose him in free agency," Kupchak said, per the Associated Press' Steve Reed (via NBA.com). "But going forward, in the community, in the franchise, this is a player that we hope is with us—not only for the next couple of years, but ends his career here."


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