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Though he is entering the final season of a contract that will pay him $12 million with the Charlotte Hornets as he heads for unrestricted free agency next summer, New York native Kemba Walker doesn’t see himself returning home to play.
Walker, 28, was born in the Bronx and attended high school there before moving on to Connecticut and leading the Huskies to the NCAA title in 2011, playing several high-profile games in Madison Square Garden.
“As far as seeing me in New York, I doubt it,” Walker told Michael Scotto of The Athletic. “I’m a Hornet, and I’m planning on being a Hornet for a long time, so, yeah, I’m not sure about that (New York).”
Walker was back in New York to host his camp with with the New York City Basketball Kids at John Jay College. Approximately 160 kids ages 5-17 were in attendance.
While at the camp, a youngster asked Walker if he would make it out of Charlotte.
“I’m not planning to leave, no,” Walker replied. “It’s not up to me right now.”
Entering the final season of his contract, and with the possibility of re-signing Walker because of salary-cap restraints, the Hornets and new general manager Mitch Kupchak are in a difficult situation. While he has expressed desire to remain in Charlotte, the fact is Walker is the team’s best available trade chip.
In the meantime, the Hornets’ franchise leader in points (9,907), 3-pointers (1,023) and free throws (2,018) is happy to have Tony Parker as a teammate. The Hornets signed the 36-year-old 17-year career San Antonio Spur to a one-year, $10 million deal.
“Having Tony Parker is huge,” Walker told Scotto. “He’s a guy who’s been through it all. He knows a lot. He’s won championships. He knows what it takes to win in this league. I don’t think there’s any better point guard to learn from than Tony Parker.
“I’ve been talking to him for a few days now, and I’m excited. I’m excited to learn from him, pick his brain every day, and become a better player from him.”