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Kemba Walker: ‘No hard feelings’ toward Hornets

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 06: Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics reacts while brings the ball up court against Terry Rozier #3 of the Charlotte Hornets during the third quarter of the game at TD Garden on October 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

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Kemba Walker and the Hornets called each other their top priorities entering free agency.

But when push came to shove, Charlotte offered Walker just $160 million over five years – about $62 million less than his super max. Heck, it was about $30 million than his regular max would’ve been.

He left for the Celtics on a four-year, $140,790,600 max contract.

Walker on the Hornets, via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

They offered, but it just wasn’t an offer I could accept. I guess that’s the (most) money that they had. I know they didn’t want to go over the (luxury) tax. Which I completely understand. It’s a business at the end of the day, and I respect the decision that they made. No hard feelings at all. I still love that organization and everything around it.

It was tough for me (to leave), and I know it was tough for them; for MJ (owner Michael Jordan) and Mitch to let me go. But at the end of the day you have to do tough things in life. It just happens.

This is a kind assessment by Walker, who poured his heart into Charlotte and received little help.

Hornets president Mitch Kupchak even had the gall to claim he was blindsided by Walker making an All-NBA team and becoming super-max eligible. At face value, that’s so disrespectful to how well Walker played last season. I wouldn’t have picked Walker for All-NBA, but he certainly deserved strong consideration. There was nothing surprising about him making it. That story makes Kupchak look clueless. The alternative is Kupchak was lying, which would also reflect poorly on him.

The Hornets faced a legitimately tough choice in whether or not to re-sign Walker. They determined the 29-year-old wasn’t worth the max for their team, which is a perfectly fine conclusion.

But I wouldn’t have minded Walker resenting that decision. He’s the one on the business end of it.

That said, I’m also unsurprised Walker isn’t making waves. That’s not really his style.