Kemba Walker is set to become a free agent a year from now. Assuming that he wants to win, you can bet he won’t be sticking around in Charlotte, being that they aren’t even a playoff team. With that, the Hornets should look to trade him before he’d likely leave for nothing. Like I said in my last article about Kawhi Leonard you can’t expect to get a lot for a player who is supposed to be just a one-year rental. So what can the Hornets realistically get for their all-star point guard? I came up with some potential trades.
Trade with Phoenix
Suns receive: Kemba Walker
Hornets receive: TJ Warren (sign and trade) Dragan Bender, 2019 first rounder top 3 protected
The Suns have a young core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges. They don’t need to tank anymore. Devin Booker said he’s “done” with not making the playoffs. Kemba Walker would undoubtedly fill the Suns’ hole at point guard and make them an explosive offense. Life would be far easier for Booker, defenses would be unable to key in on him fully, and as a result, he will receive more open shots and not have to carry the load.
The Hornets would be receiving TJ Warren, who is just 24 years old and averaged 19 points per game this past season while shooting 50% from the field. The key for Warren is to improve his three-point shot. Additionally, the Hornets would be getting Bender, who has shown flashes and is just two years removed from being the 4th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. The 2019 Suns’ first rounder would be an asset to the Hornets as well. The Suns would be much improved, but there’s no guarantee that they’d be a playoff team in the brutal Western Conference meaning that Charlotte could receive a lottery pick.
Trade with Minnesota
Timberwolves receive: Kemba Walker, Malik Monk
Hornets receive: Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins is not a good fit next to Jimmy Butler and Karl Anthony Towns because of his lack of floor spacing and poor defense. That, along with his awful contract, and him saying he doesn’t like being the third option gives the Timberwolves reason to make this move. Kemba Walker would significantly make the Timberwolves better. If he were to stay long-term, the rest of the Western Conference should be worried.
Victor Oladipo was never going to become the player he became this past season playing next to Russell Westbrook. Could a similar circumstance happen to Wiggins leaving Towns and Butler to be a #1 option? It’s unlikely, but talent isn’t the issue for Wiggins. If he lives up to the hype he had when he entered the league then the Hornets will have found a franchise player being that he’s under contract for five more years.
Trade with Los Angeles
Lakers receive: Kemba Walker
Hornets receive: Kyle Kuzma, Mo Wagner
Many people not only think the Lakers could land both Paul George, but LeBron James as well. Those two would instantly make the Lakers a great team, but would they beat good enough to threaten the Golden State Warriors’ throne? Doubtful. Adding another all-star would certainly help. With James and George, the Lakers would have a logjam at small forward. Kyle Kuzma could be trade bait.
As a rookie, Kuzma averaged 16 points on 45% shooting from the field and 36% shooting from three. A trade package with him as the main piece would be good for the Hornets.
Trade with Indiana
Pacers receive: Kemba Walker
Hornets receive: Domantas Sabonis, TJ Leaf, Aaron Holiday Al Jefferson
The Pacers had an excellent season. They surprised everybody by finishing 5th in the Eastern Conference and pushing the Lebron James led Cavaliers to seven games in the first round. With all of that being said, they won’t move up much or at all in the East unless they find another all-star to pair with Victor Oladipo. Losing Sabonis in this trade would hurt, but the other three players Indiana would be giving up had no relevance to their surprise team this past season. Kemba and Oladipo would be a very exciting backcourt and potentially for many years.
Sabonis is a promising young player. Leaf and Holiday are the Pacers most recent two first-round picks. These three players could help jumpstart Charlotte’s rebuild.
Trading an all-star like Kemba Walker isn’t an easy thing to do, but it’s always better to receive something than nothing. Will the Hornets trade Walker? Could one of these trades become a reality? We’ll have a clearer picture in the coming months.