Report: Hornets offered Kemba Walker $160 million – about $61 million less than projected super-max
Kemba Walker is eligible to re-sign with the Hornets on a five-year super-max contract that projects to be worth $221 million.
Instead, he sounds increasingly likely to join the Celtics.
Stephen A. Smith on ESPNews:
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
This still feels like Walker trying to pressure the Hornets into offering more money. The rhetoric sounds just a little too strong.
Walker’s max with the Celtics projects to be about $141 million over four years. So, he’d be leaving about $19 million on the table. However, that’s a shorter deal, so he’d have a chance to recoup some of that money in four years.
Will Charlotte buckle and offer Walker more? I’d be shocked if he gets the full super-max, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he extracts enough money to stay. There’s plenty of room for compromise in the $61 million difference between the super-max and the offer.
But the Hornets are correct to tread lightly. Though it’d be difficult to lose the greatest player in franchise history and someone who has embraced the Charlotte community, this is not some great era the Hornets would be ending. They’ve only sometimes made the playoffs and never won a series with Walker in his prime. They have extremely limited avenues to upgrade around him, especially because Jordan refuses to pay the luxury tax. It will get even harder as Walker – a 29-year-old small guard – ages.
The risk is lower for Boston, which would have to pay him less and already has a solid supporting cast assembled. Plug Walker in for Kyrie Irving, and the Celtics should keep humming – maybe with lower championship odds, but with improved chemistry that should help over the long regular season.