Woj broke the news a couple hours ago. Charlotte is willing to trade their All Star point guard, Kemba Walker.
ESPN Sources: Charlotte making All-Star guard Kemba Walker available in trade talks. Story: https://t.co/4u3mLpmHcH— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 19, 2018
Charlotte’s awful cap situation is cited as the driving factor behind the decision. Currently 11th in the Eastern Conference, Charlotte has a number of bad contracts they want to dump, and they are dangling Walker to entice teams to take on one or two of those contract.
Utah has quite a bit of flexibility, with expiring or partially guaranteed deals that may be a good fit for a Charlotte team that appears to be on the verge of a rebuild.
From ESPN’s article on the trade rumors:
The Hornets had already made available Nicolas Batum (four years, $100 million), Dwight Howard (two years, $47 million), Marvin Williams (three years, $42 million) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (three years, $39 million), league sources said, but those players and their contracts are largely unattractive in the marketplace.
Those are some bad contracts. Really bad. But it could be worth it if it meant Utah brought in a player like Walker to pair with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. With that in mind, here are three possible Jazz/Hornets trades.
Jazz receive: Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum
Hornets receive: Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, Ricky Rubio
At first glance this appears to be a lateral move, with Charlotte taking back Rubio - who has a larger salary than Walker. But Charlotte gets to dump Batum’s contract and they get a ton of flexibility by taking on two young, productive players that they have control over for the 2018 free agency period. Utah gives up a lot, but this trade likely doesn’t require a 2018 1st round pick going to Charlotte. Batum’s contract is hard to swallow, but a Walker/Mitchell backcourt with both Ingles and Batum available to play at the wings (and Ingles able to play small ball 4), this could work out well for Utah.
Jazz receive: Kemba Walker, Marvin Williams
Hornets receive: Derrick Favors, Ricky Rubio
Perhaps the simplest and most straight-forward trade possible. Utah and Charlotte essentially swap their PG and PF. Charlotte saves roughly $12 million in 2019 and roughly $25 million in 2020. Utah gets an All Star point guard and a serviceable stretch four to pair with Rudy in the front court. With Favors gone, Rudy healthy again, and a point guard who can shoot, Utah would have much better spacing.
In this completely ridiculous trade...
Jazz receive: Kevin Love, Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum
Cavaliers receive: Joe Ingles, Marvin Williams, Joe Johnson
Hornets receive: Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, Channing Frye, Ante Zizic
Jazz take on a LOT of salary, and give up fan favorite Joe Ingles, but they would have a solid core of players. Cavaliers get better perimeter defense, which they desperately need, a couple of secondary ball handlers to spell LeBron in the playoffs, and gain more quality depth. Hornets dump massive amounts of salary and maintain flexibility moving forward. They also gain control of Favors and bring in a player on a rookie contract. Utah probably needs to send out picks in order to make a trade like this happen, but Dennis Lindsey is a wizard. So maybe not.
Kemba would give Utah a formidable “big three” to build around. Taking on salary would be well worth it.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton gave this hypothetical trade with the Utah Jazz in addition to the hypotheticals outlined above. Which is similar to the first one we pitched.
Hornets get: Guards Rodney Hood and Ricky Rubio, forward Derrick Favors, 2018 first-round pick
Jazz get: Guard Kemba Walker, forwards Jeremy Lamb and Marvin Williams
Utah could offer an intriguing combination of cap flexibility and talent to Charlotte. The Jazz’s short-term contracts come attached to quality players; Favors would surely have some value to a third team as a rental in the final season of his deal, while Rodney Hood could be worth re-signing as a restricted free agent.
Would Utah be willing to offer this much given the Jazz are currently five games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference? Perhaps not, but this deal would give Utah a compelling alternative to testing free agency this summer, and Williams would be a good fit as a stretch 4 next to Rudy Gobert. A starting lineup of Walker, rookie Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Williams and Gobert would make the Jazz favorites to return to the playoffs in 2018-19.
Should the Utah Jazz trade for Kemba Walker?
This poll is closed
Yes, do whatever it takes.
Yes, but only with a protected 1st round draft pick.
No, have you seen the Luka Doncic YouTube videos?
No, there’s always money in the banana stand.