The Charlotte Hornets appear quite motivated to move point guard Kemba Walker, and they’re reportedly hoping one team steps up with interest.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN, the Hornets are hoping the New York Knicks get involved in the Walker sweepstakes. Charlotte is said to be seeking a good young player or a first-round pick in exchange for Walker, and Knicks rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina would be of interest.
However, the Hornets also want to shed some salary as part of a deal, which would not be of much interest to the Knicks. The two sides have not had major discussions, and it is unlikely New York would meet Charlotte’s current asking price.
Walker doesn’t want to be moved, but it sounds like something the Hornets are very interested in doing. It’s a storyline worth watching ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline.
2018 is already proving to be quite the year in the sport of basketball: Isaiah Thomas is back, DeMar DeRozan is dropping 50-point games, and the founder of the NBA has officially begun his sacred pilgrimmage to Lithuania. But with that calendar flip comes the realization that the trade deadline is but a month and change away. Here are eight teams likely to be open for business.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are just 17-20 on the year as two prime assets (their top individual defender in Patrick Beverley and their $65 million man in Danilo Gallinari) gather dust on the sideline in suits. To make matters worse, the schedule becomes a meat processor from here — the Clippers will face Golden State (twice), Minnesota, Houston, and Boston, all over the course of the next three weeks. DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams (both of whom can be free agents after the season) are two immensely popular trade targets, and each looks like a legitimate top-10 option at his respective position this year. It may only be a matter of time before Clippers executive Jerry West takes advantage of their peaking value and cashes in on this period of feast before the seemingly inevitable famine.
New Orleans Pelicans
Every passing second is a second that DeMarcus Cousins is closer to free agency this summer. To be fair, there’s a lot of good going in New Orleans right now: Cousins and Anthony Davis are a tyranny, little-known guard E’Twaun Moore has been making a killing lately, and Rajon Rondo is slinging dimes like rhymes a la 2008. But the Pelicans seem to have the scarlet letter of “.500 team” permanently emblazoned on their jerseys, and it’s becoming a fair question to ask just how high their ceiling is with this core. The spacing still stinks, and overall the team is still a few wings short of a full chicken. It’s the worst time in the collective history of our galaxy to be a mediocre team in the Western Conference, and you figure that has to leave open the possibility of Cousins getting whacked by the trade bat for a second consecutive February.
It’s somewhat forgotten that Stephen Curry is due to become a free agent in the summer of 2017, and while staying in Golden State remains by far the likeliest outcome, he’s not going to rule out other things.
One of those options is playing for the Charlotte Hornets, the city where he grew up, and he admitted that at one time, he’d have loved to.
“I don’t know,” Curry said of joining Charlotte in free agency when asked by Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer. “Obviously I had a strong tie to Charlotte and would have loved to play there. I’m very comfortable in that city. It’s hard to say exactly what the situation will be this summer.”
On the whole, Curry hasn’t forgotten about his impending free agency, but it isn’t at the forefront of his thoughts.
“It’s on my radar, but it’s not really on my mind as much day-to-day,” Curry said. “I’m just trying to enjoy what this season is going to bring.”
Of course, 29 NBA teams are watching and waiting for any signs of discontent from Curry. It’s probably not coming. He knows it would be foolish to close the door on anything at this point, but the odds are very strong that Curry will be a Warrior next year.
After bouncing around the NBA, Jeremy Lin wants to land somewhere where he’ll be staying for a while. It’s appearing likely that that place will not be New Orleans.
Lin told the World Economic Forum that he wants to find a permanent home, as well as a team that can maximize his potential.
“I’ve played six years in the NBA; I’ve played on five different teams. I’ve played for two D-League teams — so seven cities in six years,” Lin said, via ESPN’s Ian Begley. “I’m tired of boxes, I’m tired of moving companies, and I want to find a home.
“I want to see how good I can become. I’m 27, and an athlete’s prime, or at least in the NBA, your prime is usually 27-30. That’s when you kind of peak physically (and) mentally and that’s where most players perform their best. So I’m going into my prime and I want to see how great I can be as a player, and that’s my purpose in free agency — so I’ll just exhaust every opportunity to see which one will be the best for me.”
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Hornets would like to keep Lin, but other priorities and the fact that they don’t own Lin’s Bird rights may make that impossible. Charlotte is prioritizing the re-signing of Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams, and they might not have the cap space to retain Lin even though they’d like to.
Lin is said to have meetings with three teams in the works, but there is no word on who the interested parties are. The Knicks will not be one of them, as they reportedly weren’t all that interested even before acquiring Derrick Rose.