Walker felt weird moving on from the only team he’s ever known.
After eight full seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, point guard Kemba Walker decided to walk away from the team Walker was up for a supermax deal of up to 5 years at $220 million, although in the end, the Hornets didn’t even come close to that offer. Instead, they offered Walker five years, $160 million which wasn’t nearly enough to keep him with the franchise. The Hornets will be going into full rebuild mode because of this loss, while Walker goes to a playoff contender in the Celtics. Despite the upgrade in team, Walker explained how hard it was to leave in an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic.
“Tough days, f–king tough days, I can’t even lie,” Walker said. “Excuse my language. It was difficult. I couldn’t see myself just being on another team. It was just hard. That’s all I’ve known was Charlotte. Definitely some tough times. I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to get the offer that I wanted, and maybe not close to it, because of cap space.”
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Walker also got to speak about his predecessor in Boston, Kyrie Irving, and whether or not he feels any pressure to perform up to standards of a player like Kyrie. As you would expect, Walker is more focused on being his own player.
“I’m not trying to go in and think that I have to be better than Kyrie last year,” Walker explained. “It happens. Great players go to teams all the time and it just doesn’t work. It just didn’t work for him. Kyrie is one of the best players we have in this world. It was just unfortunate, an unfortunate season.”
Only time will tell whether or not Walker can lead the Celtics to a deep playoff run or if they will be destined for a first or second round exit.