Walker earned his first career All-NBA honor on Thursday after averaging 25.6 points and 5.9 assists per game in 2018-19. 

By Michael Shapiro
May 23, 2019

Kemba Walker earned his first career All-NBA selection on Thursday, and the honor's impact extends far past a simple nod of appreciation. The Hornets point guard is now in line for a massive payday when free agency begins on July 1, bumping his maximum contract nearly $80 million if he stays in Charlotte

Walker is a three-time All-Star in eight seasons with Charlotte, now slated for the largest contract of his career after signing a four-year, $48 million extension in 2014. And the economics of Walker's next contract largely depended on Thursday's selection. 

The UConn product's contract will not be affected by the All-NBA nod if he moves on from the Hornets. He can sign a maximum contract of four years, $140.6 million with another team, though the more lucrative option remains in Charlotte. Had Walker not made an All-NBA team but stayed in Charlotte, he could have signed for five years and $189.7 million. But Thursday's honor raises his max deal to five years, $221.3 million, the highest possible deal for any player in the league. 

The economic benefit of staying with the Hornets is likely Charlotte's lone edge in free agency. The franchise has reached the postseason just twice with Walker but lost in the first round in 2014 and 2016.

Walker averaged 25.6 points and 5.6 assists per game in 2018-19 while making a career-high 260 threes.

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