Kemba Walker could indeed be bound for Boston.
The Celtics have emerged as the frontrunner to land the Hornets guard when free agency begins Sunday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, citing unidentified league sources.
According to The Athletic, also citing unidentified league sources, Walker and the Hornets have experienced “sizable gaps and stalemate” in their contract discussions so far. This has opened the door for potential competitors in Boston, New York and Dallas, the report noted.
Walker has insisted his top choice is to stay with the team that drafted him ninth overall in 2011 after spending his entire eight-year career in Charlotte, but the Lakers and Mavericks have also expressed interest in signing him.
He became eligible for a “supermax” deal when he was named to the All-NBA third team after the season ended.
“Charlotte’s definitely my first priority,” Walker told The Athletic earlier this month. “That’s where I’ve been for eight years and that’s all I know. Not many people get a chance to play for one NBA team throughout their career. … Charlotte is my home, man. I’ve been there for eight years and it’s been the most amazing eight years of my life. My family, they love it. The fans love me. The organization has been great and gave me my opportunity.”
Walker, 29, averaged a career-high 25.6 points, along with 5.9 assists for the Hornets last season. He shot 43.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from 3-point range.