Written by: Mike Ryan
Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a huge NBA trade rumor with a report the Charlotte Hornets will make All-Star guard Kemba Walker available in trade talks.
The Hornets have been one of the more underachieving teams this year and could be set to totally blow up the roster. The Hornets are set to pay Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd – Gilchrist, and Nicolas Batum a combined $48 million annually for the next three seasons. Those contracts are awful for the team and are also cap killing.
With Kemba Walker set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018-19 season, it would be smart for the Hornets to capitalize now on his value and tank for the remainder of the season.
So which teams would be interested in Walker? I can imagine every team in need of a point guard will call the Hornets for updates on Walker’s availability.
Which brings both the Knicks and Pistons in play. This could be a three-team deal that helps all three teams out. In this scenario, the Knicks will send their 2018 unprotected first round pick and their 2020 unprotected first round pick to Charlotte. The Knicks will also send their 2018 second round pick to Detroit.
Why should the Hornets do the deal: The Hornets are currently sitting at the 11th spot in the upcoming NBA draft, while the Knicks stand at 12. If this deal goes through, the Hornets will likely end up anywhere in the 6-8 spot in the draft, potentially even top 5, if the Draft lottery breaks right, while the Knicks pick, will likely end up being between 12-16. The 6-8 spot opens the possibility for Hornets up to take Trae Young, Collin Sexton, Mo Bamba or Jaren Jackson Jr. In the 12-16 range, they could target Kevin Knox, Mikal Bridges, Troy Brown, or Trevon Duval.
The Hornets then would get back young pieces in Stanley Johnson and Willy Hernangomez that would provide two young players with a good upside. There’s clear potential that has not been tapped yet with both players. Henry Ellenson is a young big who can stretch the floor in the Frank Kaminsky role.
That’s a good return and allows the Hornets to focus on trading other pieces to acquire more picks.
Why should the Pistons do the deal: The Pistons are in win-now mode. Guys like Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, and Tobias Harris are locked up for the next three seasons. The Pistons will have the opportunity to cash in and land Courtney Lee and Frank Kaminsky without giving up a ton.
Imagine this Pistons rotation:
Starters – Jackson, Bradley, Lee, Harris, Drummond
Bench – Smith, Kennard, Bullock, Tolliver, Kaminsky
That looks like a team that can make that playoff push and gets them over the hump in a clouded playoff race.
Why should the Knicks do the deal: The Hornets will likely ask for Frank Ntilikina in the deal however, I could see the Knicks front office being hesitant to do so. That’s why the Knicks will likely toss in two first round picks in the deal instead. I wouldn’t even rule out a third first-round pick being traded as well.
The Knicks will get their franchise point guard they desperately have coveted and Walker would make every current Knicks player better. If the Knicks’ are able to give up just picks instead of dealing Ntilikina, it’ll be a no-brainer.
The Knicks can close out games with Walker-Ntilikina-Hardaway-Beasley-Porzingis, which looks pretty good to me.