Kawhi Leonard is the marquee NBA player that will likely be moved via trade in the coming days or weeks, but Hornets point guard Kemba Walker remains right behind him in terms of big names that could be on the move. The Knicks have consistently been mentioned as a destination for Walker, as Walker – a Bronx native – has often expressed his love for playing at Madison Square Garden.
One of these days, the Knicks will land one of these players that is said to be in love with MSG – and that day could come with Walker. Just not this year.
Walker will be a free agent next summer, and the Knicks figure to finally have a good amount of cap flexibility. Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak isn’t going to give up Walker for free, though, and it was recently reported that the main reason the Cavaliers drafted point guard Collin Sexton was because Kupchak was interested in him.
It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the Cavs will trade for Walker with LeBron James likely set to take his talents to Southern California. So that will immediately propel the Knicks to the top of the list of potential landing spots for the Hornets point guard.
Knicks GM Scott Perry is fully focused on next summer, however, as he is well aware that this current cast of characters cannot compete for a title in 2018-19. This season moving forward is all about collecting assets, not dishing them off for a quick fix.
Plus, New York does not have anything that would really interest the Hornets at this time. The Hornets scouted Knicks draft pick Kevin Knox, but if they were truly in love with him it would not have taken much for them to jump up two or three spots to select him. Out of the 11 spot, Charlotte drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander but quickly traded his rights to the Clippers in exchange for the No. 12 pick, where they took Miles Bridges.
What’s troubling for Walker, who hopes to cash in next summer – is that NBA executives know full well how loaded the NBA currently is at the position. Well over half the league already has “franchise point guards” which has diminished the position’s value.