3. Hornets and Sixers’ job just got a lot harder this summer
The Hornets have Kemba Walker. The 28-year-old point guard that is coming off his best season in which he averaged 25.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game while playing in all 82 games. Walker’s impressive play saw his team come up short, as the Hornets finished 39-43 and just barely missed the playoffs.
The Hornets have made the postseason in only two of the eight years Walker has played there, and never once escaped the first round. They are not anywhere close to adding talent in free agency and have had little success in the NBA Draft in recent years despite drafting in the lottery.
The Lakers view Walker as a top target, according to the New York Times‘ Marc Stein. They can offer him the opportunity to play with two players more talented than anyone he’s ever played with in Charlotte and a chance to win a championship.
Still, the Hornets could offer him the supermax and allow him to finish his career as the best Charlotte Hornet to ever live. It’s hard saying no to a five-year deal worth $221 million.
The Philadelphia 76ers, on the other hand, have a different conundrum. They saw their team take the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors to seven games in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and came within four bounces of possibly advancing.
Now with both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris as upcoming free agents, the 76ers want to do everything in their power to retain both. Butler is another player the Lakers will target in free agency, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
Butler is one of the best two-way guards in the league while Walker is an elite scorer and ball handler. Both could see the current opportunity of playing with the Lakers as too good to pass up, and it will be up to the Hornets and 76ers to convince them that staying where they are is the best possible decision.