Kemba Walker is on the trade block. The Charlotte Hornets see the New York Knicks as a potential suitor, but it doesn’t sound like Scott Perry and company have any interest … yet.
ESPN’s Ian Begley is reporting that the Charlotte Hornets are interested in trading Kemba Walker and that they have a particular interest in trading with the New York Knicks. The full quote from Begley below:
“The Charlotte Hornets would like to 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.”
Ears around the league will perk up anytime a star player is on the trade block. This is no different in this situation, but it doesn’t sound like the Knicks are jumping at the chance to trade for Walker just yet. Charlotte is looking for a good young player or a first-round draft pick in return for Kemba, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Good young player” could mean Frank Ntilikina or maybe even Willy Hernangomez. It’s still too early to tell, but it sounds like Ntilikina would be necessary to make the deal happen.
If Charlotte is looking to unload Walker, their franchise player, then they are clearly tearing everything down and looking to start a full rebuild. Part of the full rebuild is going to include ditching the big contracts of Nicolas Batum, Dwight Howard, among others. A deal for Walker will likely include a bad contract that Charlotte is looking to dump. That is something that the Knicks should not do. Joakim Noah‘s horrendous contract will be on the books until 2020 and they can’t afford another albatross taking up valuable salary cap space.
From the Knicks perspective, they can wait and see what kind of market develops for Walker. If the price is right they can make a deal, as ESNY’s own Collin Loring explored. If the Hornets are asking for too much, they can kindly decline.
This team is already exceeding expectations for this season and it looks like they are heading in the right direction. There’s no need to panic and make a blockbuster deal in an attempt to make the playoffs as the seven or the eight seed. They need to be thinking long-term.
Knicks fans can dream about Kemba Walker dishing off a pick and roll with Kristaps Porzingis for a dunk, or breaking ankles. But for now, that’s all they can do.