Kemba Walker has just one thing on his mind when he enters free agency this summer — he wants to win.
For the Hornets veteran guard, his upcoming decision won’t be based solely on money. Instead, it’ll be about whether Charlotte can prove to be a winning franchise.
“I want to win; I want to win,” Walker told reporters during his exit interview, per the Charlotte Observer. “That’s something that I’m going to have to really sit down and think about with my family, with my agent, with the people closest to me in my life that will help me make that decision.”
Asked Kemba what’s most important to him as he makes his decision. Is it winning, money, happiness? pic.twitter.com/Uix0DWPvfx
— Rod Boone (@rodboone) April 11, 2019
The Hornets missed the playoffs for the third straight season, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference (two games back from the eighth-ranked Pistons) with a 39-43 record. Walker explained that the Hornets will have to show him that they have the ability to build sufficient talent around him.
“I don’t think it’s started yet,” Walker said. “I think now the work begins for those guys. They’ll figure it out.”
While Walker showed confidence in the Hornets’ front office, many have questioned whether Charlotte will figure it out in time to retain the All-Star guard. In Walker’s eight Hornets seasons since being drafted ninth overall in 2011, Charlotte has made the playoffs just twice and didn’t advance past the first round either time.
The questions surrounding Walker’s pending free agency decision have come up throughout the season, and he was asked about it after the Hornets were eliminated from playoff contention with a 122-114 loss to the Magic on Wednesday.
“I’m not sure,” Walker said after the game when asked if he will be back with the Hornets next season, per NBA.com. “I have a long time to even start thinking about that stuff. Me and my agent, my family, we will discuss that stuff when the time is right.”
A three-time All-Star, Walker, 28, is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 25.6 points as he played in all 82 games for just the second time in his career.