“This is where I want to be, that hasn’t changed at all.”
The above words were spoken by Hornets star PG Kemba Walker just a few days ago when the Hornets held their exit interviews. To a Hornets fan, those words above have to be encouraging when wondering if their star player is going to re-sign with the team in free agency this coming offseason.
If one were to look at those words, it’d be easy to think Walker is going to remain a member of the Hornets. Considering this is the only team Walker has ever played for in the NBA, it makes perfect sense for him to remain loyal to his team.
Those words weren’t the only words spoken by Kemba Walker during his interview.
“I want to win. Like I said yesterday, that’s something that I’m going to have to really sit down and think about with my family, with my agent, with the people closest to me in my life that will help me make that decision.”
Those words change everything. Let’s focus on that first sentence. “I want to win.” Those words are game changing. Those words go against everything Kemba Walker had to say about wanting to stay with the Hornets.
Since Kemba Walker came into the NBA in 2011, the Hornets have made the playoffs twice. That’s twice in eight seasons. In both of those playoff appearances, the Hornets lost in the first round.
Two seasons with a winning record and two playoff appearances in eight NBA seasons doesn’t sound like a place where Kemba Walker wants to be.
Will he stay or will he go?
I’m all for NBA players being loyal to the teams who drafted them, especially since it almost never happens in today’s NBA anymore. However, can you blame Kemba Walker, or any NBA player for that matter, for wanting to win? No.
I honestly believe Kemba Walker wants to stay with the Hornets, but they’ve continuously failed to build a winning team around him.
This season, Kemba Walker averaged 25.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists. Those are numbers only a small handful of NBA teams get from their point guards. If any competitive teams are looking for a point guard this offseason, you better believe they’re going after Kemba Walker with everything they’ve got. They’d be stupid not to.
Kemba Walker’s love for the Hornets will make his free agency decision hard, but when it comes down to it, winning will be the biggest factor in his decision. When Kemba Walker decides to walk away from the Hornets in free agency, the Hornets will only have themselves to blame.
Today’s NBA is all about winning, especially for NBA stars like Kemba Walker. Winning isn’t something the Hornets have done, which will ultimately lead their star point guard to a new team.
I won’t make my prediction as to which team Kemba Walker will end up with this coming offseason, but I will go ahead and predict now that he’s not coming back to the Hornets because of their inability to put a winning team around him.