Report: Celtics are ‘frontrunner’ to sign Kemba Walker
The Charlotte Hornets have the ability to dwarf other teams with the contract they can offer Kemba Walker, but they may not be willing to give the star point guard all the money he is entitled to.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that Walker and the Hornets are at a “stalemate” in contract talks, and that has increased the likelihood of Walker signing with another team. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics are currently considered the favorite.
The Boston Celtics have emerged as the frontrunner to sign Charlotte All-Star guard Kemba Walker once free agency opens Sunday at 6 PM ET, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2019
We can probably assume that means the Hornets do not want to give Walker a supermax contract. By being named to an All-NBA team this past season, Walker became eligible for a five-year, $221 million supermax contract with the Hornets. They could also offer him a regular max deal which would be worth $190 million over five years. The most any other team can offer Walker is a four-year, $140 million contract.
It would be difficult to imagine Walker leaving more than $80 million on the table to sign with another team, but perhaps the gap between what the Hornets are willing to offer and what other teams can offer is not that large. Walker previously indicated that he wants to stay in Charlotte and would consider taking less than the supermax.
Kyrie Irving is expected to leave the Celtics when free agency begins, and Walker is the type of unselfish player who could thrive in Brad Stevens’ system. He is also close with Jayson Tatum and would have a much better shot at contending in the East in Boston than he would in Charlotte. The idea of Walker signing with the Celtics is gaining more steam by the day.