With the trade deadline quickly approaching, it seems we’ve seen more big names involved in potential deals than ever before. One of those marquee players who could be on the move is Charlotte Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker.
After years of underwhelming play from the Hornets while Walker has simultaneously ascended towards NBA stardom, the UCONN product’s days in Charlotte may be numbered. Though he remains under contract through next season, the Hornets have been gauging interest surrounding his potential availability ahead of the Feb. 8th deadline.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, one of the teams the Hornets hope to engage in trade discussions are the New York Knicks:
The Charlotte Hornets would like engage the Knicks on trade discussions involving All-Star point guard Kemba Walker but New York and Charlotte haven’t yet had substantive discussions about a trade involving Walker, per league sources. It seems unlikely at this point that the Knicks will want to meet Charlotte’s desired return. Charlotte is hoping a Walker trade returns a good young player or a first-round pick, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Knicks have first-round draft picks and a promising young player in Frank Ntilikina. But the other part of Charlotte’s request is a holdup for the Knicks. Wojnarowski reports that Charlotte appears eager to shed one of its less desirable contracts. That would mean the Knicks would likely need to take on extra salary to acquire Walker, which was something New York was hesitant to do in trading Carmelo Anthony over the summer.
After spending their 8th overall pick to address their struggles at point guard, the development of Frank Ntilikina has been coming along slower than some probably would have liked. The lack of a legitimate complementary star to the improved play of franchise centerpiece Kristaps Porzingis will keep the Knicks as a middling team in the East.
Adding someone such as Kemba Walker without sacrificing Ntilikina or someone like Tim Hardaway Jr. would be a major victory for the Knicks but is highly unlikely. Based off what we know though, it doesn’t appear as if Walker is reciprocating much interest on the market, with plenty of teams already settled at point guard but anything can happen if the Hornets are seriously adamant about shipping away their floor general.
With the Knicks currently on shaky ground at that point guard position, the Hornets pursuing a possible trade involving the dynamic 7th-year man Walker with them makes plenty of sense. It’ll be intriguing to see how this situation between Walker and the Hornets unfolds with the trade deadline sitting mere weeks away.