Walker’s ‘first priority’ is to remain with Hornets

Soon-to-be free agent Kemba Walker would like to remain with the Hornets.

While he will become an unrestricted free agent June 30, staying with the Charlotte Hornets remains Kemba Walker’s “first priority,” according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

Coming off a season in which he averaged a career-best 25.6 points and earned third-team All-NBA recognition, Walker is eligible to be offered a five-year, $221.3 million supermax contract by the Hornets. The most other teams could offer Walker would be a four-year, $140.6 million pact.

However, Walker points out his desire to remain with the Hornets has more to do than money.

“That’s where I’ve been for eight years and that’s all I know,” he said. “Not many people get a chance to play for one NBA team throughout their career. When I go on my Instagram, I see, ‘Kemba leave! Kemba get out of Charlotte!’ People don’t understand, when they say you need to go ‘here’ and win, that winning is not guaranteed anywhere.”

For months, teams such as the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks have been linked to a possible pursuit of Walker. However, Walker said the chance to play in a bigger market is not important to him, saying he does not “need people to know what I’m doing all the time,” adding he is unconcerned about his “brand.” The ability of the Hornets to add a fifth year to a contract offer is attractive to the All-Star point guard.

“I think at my age (29), whoever is my age in this situation, I think the fifth year is always important to them,” Walker said. “So yeah, it’s important for sure. But I don’t know, we gon’ see if we’re gonna work something out and figure it out.

“Hopefully, things work out, but it’s all about that God knows where I’m gonna go. He’s the only one who knows where I’m going right now, honestly. So I’m just going to let this thing play out.”

Walker is committed to play for Team USA in the upcoming FIBA World Cup this summer.

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