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Report: Hornets have made Kemba Walker available for trade

David Kenyon
Courtesy of Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports

Kemba Walker is the player holding together a struggling Charlotte Hornets roster, but the franchise has put the All-Star guard on the trade market.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news, which comes with a considerably large string attached.

“Charlotte has been encouraging teams to make offers and appear eager to discuss attaching Walker to a larger trade where another team takes on one of the Hornets’ several far less desirable contracts.”

Wojnarowski notes the team has already put Nicolas Batum, Dwight Howard, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the market but aren’t finding suitors because of their large salaries.

According to Basketball Insiders, Batum is due $100 million through the 2020-21 season. Howard’s $47 million deal runs through 2018-19, Williams has three years remaining on a $42 million-plus contract, and MKG requires $13 million in each season through 2019-20.

Considering the average production Charlotte has received from those players, it’s understandable other NBA clubs aren’t interested. Throwing Walker into the conversation changes the story, though.

He’s under team control at just $12 million — extremely low for a veteran All-Star — in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Walker is averaging 21.7 points and 5.8 assists per game, boasting a team-high plus-17.3 net rating, per NBA.com.

Moving Walker would signal a complete rebuild for Charlotte, which holds an 18-25 record and sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

The Hornets would likely plummet in the standings without Walker and position themselves for a top-five pick in a deep 2018 NBA draft.