Kemba Walker Doubts He'll Join Knicks, Plans to Stay with Hornets 'A Long Time'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2018

Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker, left, talks with head coach James Borrego, right, during pre draft workouts for the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Kemba Walker has no desire to leave Charlotte—now or in free agency next year.

The Hornets point guard said he plans on remaining right where he's at "for a long time" in an interview with Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

"As far as seeing me in New York, I doubt it," Walker said. "I'm a Hornet, and I'm planning on being a Hornet for a long time; so, yeah, I'm not sure about that [New York]."

Walker, 28, will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. He'll make $12 million in 2018-19 and stands to see a significant raise in his next contract.

The question was posed to Walker because he's from New York, and the Knicks are expected to be a major player in free agency in 2019. Walker also had a number of memorable moments at Madison Square Garden while playing at UConn, highlighted by his 2011 Big East Tournament MVP.

"It means a lot; it means everything," Walker said. "Without New York, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I know what these kids go through on a daily basis. I've grown up the same way they have, but you know I just stayed on the right path of school, hard work, basketball and just being a good person, and I made it out."

Walker's contractual situation is especially interesting with the Hornets missing the playoffs the last two seasons. Charlotte is already capped out after giving a bad max deal to Nicolas Batum and long-term, big-money contracts to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller. MKG and Williams have player options for 2019-20 and will almost certainly opt into their respective deals.

Walker will likely more than double his salary over the course of a long-term deal. The prospect of paying him more than $30 million a season in his 30s has to feel like a risk when he plays the NBA's deepest position and isn't considered among the best half-dozen players at his position.

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