With 2019 NBA free agency approaching, it is no secret the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to sign a second All-Star player alongside LeBron James.
While the Lakers already have Lonzo Ball, he would be more than capable of playing with a scoring point guard like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker.
As Irving’s chances of re-signing with the Boston Celtics reportedly are ‘low,’ Walker’s situation is much different with the Charlotte Hornets.
For Walker, he recently called the Hornets his ‘first priority’ despite not having too much team success, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic:
“Oh no question, Charlotte’s definitely my first priority,” he said. “That’s where I’ve been for eight years and that’s all I know. Not many people get a chance to play for one NBA team throughout their career. When I go on my Instagram, I see, ‘Kemba leave! Kemba get out of Charlotte!’ People don’t understand, when they say you need to go ‘here’ and win, that winning is not guaranteed anywhere.”
Since Walker’s comments, there reportedly is ‘doubt’ the Hornets will offer him the full supermax deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The Hornets and Kemba Walker both have each other as top priorities entering July 1, league sources said. Walker confirmed to Jared Weiss of The Athletic that the Hornets remain his “first priority” during his tour of Tokyo as an NBA ambassador there during the NBA Finals. Walker made the All-NBA third team this year after another spectacular season, allowing him to sign a five-year, $221 million super maximum contract. There is doubt around the NBA that the Hornets will reach that high amount, but owner Michael Jordan’s loyalty has always been with Walker.
After Walker made the 2018-19 All-NBA Third team, he qualifies for a five-year, $221.3 million deal instead of $189.7 million. With other teams only able to offer a four-year, $140.6 million deal, this will likely not change his stance.
Although the Hornets may not offer him the full supermax deal heading into June 30, the 29-year-old would be giving up at least $49.1 million.
As the Lakers will likely have to look elsewhere, they have already been linked to two other point guards in Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry via trade if they ultimately strike out in free agency. However, the Lakers should have better options available with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and young core.