Hornets coach: Losing Kemba Walker to Celtics a 'major hit' for Charlotte franchise

Nick Goss
NBC Sports Boston

The Charlotte Hornets' loss was the Boston Celtics' gain in NBA free agency.

Charlotte's franchise point guard, Kemba Walker, decided to turn down more money from the Hornets and instead take his talents to Boston by signing a four-year, $141 million max contract with the Celtics. Walker is a perfect fit in Boston as a replacement for Kyrie Irving, who left the Celtics to sign with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent.

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Walker was the Hornets' MVP last season after averaging a career-high 25.6 points per game and being named an All-Star starter and third-team All-NBA member. His departure is an enormous loss for the Hornets franchise, but they were quick to replace Walker in free agency by signing Celtics backup point guard Terry Rozier to a three-year, $58 million contract.

Hornets head coach James Borrego is excited to have Rozier in the fold.

"Extremely hungry, something to prove here, lightly used 25-year-old. Comes out of a good program, a two-way guy," Borrego said of Rozier on Wednesday during an NBA TV summer league broadcast.

"Competitive spirit, worker. Things we're trying to build here as a culture, as an identity here in Charlotte. He embodies those. Obviously, losing Kemba is a major hit for our city, our organization. Someone we value, we love and meant so much to our group. We're going to miss him, but it's time to move on.

"I think Terry is a piece that allows us to grow with these young guys, a 25-and-under group that's going to play a tremendous amount this season. He plays extremely hard. He's about what we're trying to do there. We feel very fortunate that we move from Kemba Walker to Terry -- someone that's very hungry."

Rozier primarily served as a backup point guard in Boston, except for when he replaced an injured Irving during the Celtics' 2018 playoff run.

The 25-year-old has the potential to be a really good starting point guard in Charlotte, but he needs to be a more consistent shooter. Rozier has not shot better than 40 percent from the floor in any of his four pro seasons.

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Hornets coach: Losing Kemba Walker to Celtics a 'major hit' for Charlotte franchise originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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