The Los Angeles Lakers finally got their man on Saturday with a massive trade for former New Orleans Pelicans’ star Anthony Davis. The trade brings the Lakers that much closer to an NBA championship, but the Lakers aren’t finished just yet.
Following the trade for Davis, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that soon-to-be free agent guard Kemba Walker will become a top target for the Lakers.
Kemba Walker will be a top target in free agency for the Lakers after they reached an agreement in principle to trade for Anthony Davis, according to league sources
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 15, 2019
Walker, 28, finished perhaps his best season yet as a member of the Charlotte Hornets. He averaged 25.6, 4.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists across 82 games en route to earning his third All-Star nomination and his first All-NBA recognition.
Walker will tentatively become a free agent on June 30 when the NBA’s free agency period begins.
Before trade, Walker said he would like to stay in Charlotte
Just a few weeks ago, Walker told The Athletic that Charlotte was his first priority, citing his start there as well as the contract that they could offer him during free agency.
“Charlotte is my home, man,” he said at the time. “I’ve been there for eight years and it’s been the most amazing eight years of my life. My family, they love it. The fans love me. The organization has been great and gave me my opportunity.”
Because Walker made an All-NBA team this year with his third-team selection, he is eligible for a five-year $221.3 million deal with Charlotte.
The deal is a big jump compared to what another suitor may be able to offer. All other teams can max out at only four years and $140.6 million.
The fifth-year option could be a difference maker for Walker as he enters his age-29 season. “I think at my age, whoever is my age in this situation, I think the fifth year is always important to them,” he said. “So yeah, it’s important for sure.”
Still, while Walker would love to stay in Charlotte, he did leave the door open for joining another team if the offer came around.
“I haven’t even really had a chance to just sit down and think about where I want to go,” Walker said. “But as it’s getting closer, it’s something that I’m going to have to really lock into.”
He added that his decision wouldn’t be motivated by money. “It’s not about the money though, I just love playing basketball.”
If Walker were to join the Lakers, he would instantly become their starting point guard after the team dealt away Lonzo Ball. His union with the team along with Davis and LeBron James would instantly create a big-three capable enough to compete in a packed Western Conference.
Could the allure of joining a team featuring James and Davis and the title opportunities be enough to sway Walker into joining the Lakers?
Surely, the Lakers and Hornets won’t be the only teams interested in Walker come June 30. Only time will tell what happens.
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