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Mitch Kupchak says playoff record — or lack thereof — swayed Kemba Walker decision

Mitch Kupchak

Charlotte Hornets new general manager and president of basketball operations, Mitch Kupchak, answers a question during a news conference for the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, April 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)


Kemba Walker is now a member of the Boston Celtics, and that team is hopeful they can reach the Eastern Conference Finals and perhaps beyond next season.

Walker decided to walk away from the Charlotte Hornets and a potential opportunity for a supermax deal. Or at least, that’s what we thought.

We got word earlier this summer about the reported amount that the Hornets had offered Walker, and that it was significantly less than the supermax deal available to him.

In a new interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak has said that there were several factors that led to the team not offering Walker the supermax.

First and foremost? The Hornets were surprised when Walker actually qualified for it.

Charlotte Observer:

Kupchak told the Observer the Hornets were somewhat blindsided by Walker making All-NBA, and thus becoming supermax-eligible. He said while Walker didn’t demand the full supermax, the wide gap between what the Hornets could justify paying and Walker’s growing status changed the dynamic.

“We had great years with him, and we didn’t get into the playoffs,” Kupchak said. “What makes us think that next year (would) be different?”

“I’ve got to step back and look at where we’ve been and where we’re going. Chart out a course that gives us the best chance to build something that is sustainable for more than a year or two.

Kupchak went on to say that he did not trade Walker leading up to the February trade deadline in 2019 because the offers for the star point guard just weren’t that interesting.

“Almost every offer revolved around draft picks. It was always lottery-protected,” said Kupchak.

For now, it appears that at least one person has been honest with us about how the Hornets handled and thought about Walker. While it would have been nice to keep the player many consider the best in team history, the results around him we’re not up to par. Of course, that was largely due to the roster construction around Walker, which Kupchak will try to fix in the coming seasons.

Walker will be happy to be at the top of East next season, and the Hornets appear ready to rebuild.