Overloaded with bad contracts and untradable assets, the Charlotte Hornets have made All-Star point guard Kemba Walker available in trade discussions, league sources told ESPN.
Charlotte has been encouraging teams to make offers and appear eager to discuss attaching Walker to a larger trade where another team takes on one of the Hornets’ several far less desirable contracts, sources said.
Walker, 27, who makes $12 million per season through 2018-19, has developed into something rare among Charlotte’s cornerstone players: a talent whose production outperforms his pay stub. Walker is the Hornets’ best, most popular and culture-driving player.
Ultimately, Charlotte knows that trading Walker in any deal would be a reset for the franchise.
The Hornets had already made available Nicolas Batum (four years, $100 million), Dwight Howard (two years, $47 million), Marvin Williams (three years, $42 million) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (three years, $39 million), league sources said, but those players and their contracts are largely unattractive in the marketplace.
Walker, a 2017 Eastern Conference All-Star selection, is averaging 21.7 points on 42 percent shooting and 5.8 assists per game. He was Charlotte’s first-round pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
Charlotte is 11th in the East with an 18-25 record — four games behind the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently tied for the eighth playoff spot in the conference. For the first time in 21 games after suffering from severe headaches caused largely by sleep deprivation, coach Steve Clifford returned Wednesday night and coached a victory over the Washington Wizards.