The Hornets need a miracle if they're to re-sign Kemba Walker under his market value.
Beyond the Kevin Durant's and Kawhi Leonard's, there isn't much separating Kemba Walker from the rest of the free agent class in 2019. In fact, outside of Kyrie Irving and the two I just mentioned, Walker might just be the most sought-after commodity on the open market. He's adamantly stated within the past few months, that he feels no obligation to re-sign with the Hornets. Kemba is in the prime years of a respectable NBA career, and yes: he'd like the chance to suit up as the co-lead or second option on a real contender.
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"I want to win; I want to win," Walker told the Charlotte Observer in the month of April. "That's something that I'm going to have to really sit down and think about with my family, with my agent, with the people closest to me in my life that will help me make that decision."
And yet, Kemba's sentimental side always comes into focus when the local media is present. As per Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Kemba was recently quoted as saying, "Charlotte's definitely my first priority, that’s where I’ve been for eight years and that’s all I know." It seems as though, Kemba Walker cherishes the opportunity to be a loyal character in the current age. "Not many people get a chance to play for one NBA team throughout their career," he explained to Weiss.
Evidently, there are a great number of NBA franchises that would love to make his acquisition, most of which can afford to pay him well over the "small market" wages that are likely to come up in preliminary discussion with the Hornets. We'll have to see whether or not Kemba buckles under pressure. One thing's for certain: he'll be getting a raise on the below standard $12 million he earned last term.