Kemba Walker on NBA Free Agency: 'Charlotte's Definitely My First Priority'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2019

Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker (15) reacts after a basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Kemba Walker will certainly be in high demand as he hits free agency, but the Charlotte Hornets guard hopes to remain where he is if given the choice.

"Charlotte's definitely my first priority," he said, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic. "That’s where I’ve been for eight years and that’s all I know. Not many people get a chance to play for one NBA team throughout their career."

As a designated veteran, Walker can earn a supermax extension from the Hornets that pays him $221.3 million over five years compared to the four-year, $140.6 million deal any other team can offer.

The guard qualified for this distinction when he was named third-team All-NBA this season, increasing his max value by $31.6 million.

Walker set a career high with an average of 25.6 points per game this season, 10th in the NBA. He also added 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game while earning his third straight All-Star selection.

Unfortunately, he hasn't seen a lot of team success with his organization.

The Hornets haven't reached the playoffs in the last three years, and they haven't been past the first round since well before Walker was drafted in 2011. Without much help around him, there has been plenty of speculation he would want to leave to go to a winning team or at least a bigger market.

However, his loyalty cannot be understated.

"Charlotte is my home, man," Walker said. "I’ve been there for eight years and it’s been the most amazing eight years of my life. My family, they love it. The fans love me. The organization has been great and gave me my opportunity."

After making just $12 million this season, he would likely welcome the $44.3 million per year deal that the Hornets can offer.

Though there are still no guarantees until he officially makes his decision, Hornets fans should breathe a little easier after reading his latest comments.


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