Cover Image for “Michael Jordan saved Charlotte by not re-signing Kemba Walker”: How Boston Celtics are rueing their marquee 2019 free agent signing

“Michael Jordan saved Charlotte by not re-signing Kemba Walker”: How Boston Celtics are rueing their marquee 2019 free agent signing

Amulya Shekhar
|Tue Feb 23 2021


Michael Jordan seems to have made two great personnel decisions for the Hornets. One was when he rejected the max deal Kemba Walker wanted.

The Celtics’ star guard has been terrible this year. Even after accounting for his recovery timeline from a knee injury, the 30-year-old is still playing terribly.

After shooting the lights out of the gym in his first 2 months as a Celtic, Kemba is now stinking it up. Walker is making a torrid 37.1% of his field goal attempts this year, having played 15 games.

There are few indications, if any, that Walker will break out of his shooting funk. His last appearance, against the Pelicans, was supposed to be an easy game for Kemba.

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Instead, the UConn star proceeded to single-handedly give the advantage back to the Pelicans. He shot a terrible 1-of-12 from the 3-point line, bombing away with reckless abandon even when he had no chance.

It is hardly a surprise that the Celtics are rumored to be dangling him in trade talks. Kemba will be owed $74 million in the next 2 seasons and he’s not getting any younger.

Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets low-balled Kemba Walker

It was believed that the Hornets would go all out in trying to re-sign their best player of the 2010s. But Charlotte decided against giving him the supermax deal that he was eligible for.

Walker was offered $160 million over 5 years, which is $60+ million lower than the $221 million he was eligible for. Meanwhile, the Hornets offered Gordon Hayward – a teammate of Kemba last season – the same average salary over a 4-year period this offseason.

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It is clear that the Hayward investment is likely to pay off a lot better than the Walker one. For one thing, Hayward is a pretty good defender in all aspects, while Kemba is a turnstile. For another, LaMelo Ball is a true playmaker in a fashion that Walker will never emulate.

All things considered, Michael Jordan seems to have made a shrewd business decision regarding Kemba.


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