Charlotte Hornets point guard and pending free agent Kemba Walker spoke with the media during his basketball camp today. He largely reiterated many of the same things he said in his interview with The Athletic, but there were a few more interesting nuggets to be heard.
First, Walker apparently keeps getting asked about whether or not he wants to stay in Charlotte no matter how many times he says yes. Top notch reporting people.
Asked Kemba if he still wants to be in Charlotte. "I don't know how many times I can say that. I'm not going to lie. I don't know how many times I can say it. But if it doesn't work out I'm definitely prepared to play somewhere else. But yes, I would love to be in Charlotte."— Rod Boone (@rodboone) June 13, 2019
Walker did say that despite his desire to say in Charlotte, he does plan to meet with other teams. That’s not out of the ordinary for players, even if they intend to re-sign. One, it gives them additional leverage. Two, Walker has never fully experienced free agency before. Why not take a couple free dinners and listen to teams tell you how great you are?
But the most interesting and perhaps the most exciting part of the interview was this:
Speaking at his youth basketball camp, Kemba Walker said he would take less than the supermax from the #Hornets to help build a team around him.— Rod Boone (@rodboone) June 13, 2019
Walker was named to the All-NBA Third Team a couple weeks ago, which made him eligible for a 5-year $221 million ‘super-max’ contract from the Hornets. Considering he has all the leverage to ask for the full super-max, the fact that he’s willing to take less to help the team says a ton about his character.
It’s looking more and more likely that Walker will remain in Charlotte for the long term, but we won’t know for sure for another month or so. Until then, fingers crossed.