Lakers may pursue Hornets star Walker in free agency

Free agent point guard Kemba Walker appears to be headed for the Celtics after eight years with the Hornets.

The Los Angeles Lakers may be among the teams with an interest in Charlotte Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker in free agency, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

“Signing LeBron James puts the Lakers in win-now mode, which they obviously aren’t doing this season,” Bonnell wrote. “Lonzo Ball has been good at point guard, but not so good as to preclude this front office from exploring options. The Lakers will have a maximum-contract slot available.”

Walker is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Along with the Lakers, Bonnell cited the Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks as teams that could pursue Walker.

The Lakers have also been linked to free-agents-to-be Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and Jimmy Butler of the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite adding James, they sport the same 30-36 record they had at this time last season.

Meanwhile, Sam Amick of The Athletic recently reported that it seems Walker is “more likely to leave than stay” with the Hornets.

Walker is 6-foot-1 and turns 29 in May. He’s averaging career-highs of 24.9 points and 5.8 assists this season.

The Mavericks attempted to trade for Walker in January and could be the most aggressive team to pursue Walker in July.

“The Mavericks have the likely NBA Rookie of the Year in small forward-shooting guard Luka Doncic,” Bonnell wrote. “They also traded for a top big man in currenty injured Kristaps Porzingis. Both of those players are on affordable contracts within the NBA’s rookie-scale system.”