Kemba Walker wished to stay with the Hornets in free agency, but he looked for a different team after Charlotte offered him a deal $60 million less than his potential max contract, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Walker was eligible for a five-year, $221 million deal in free agency after earning an All-NBA spot in 2018-19. He was open to a deal "even slightly less" than $190 million, but sought other teams after Charlotte's offer "was just under $160 million over five years," per Charania.
“Tough days, f---ing tough days, I can’t even lie,” Walker told Charania. “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."
Walker reached a four-year, $142 million deal with the Celtics on June 30. The Hornets opted to sign former Celtics point guard Terry Rozier to a three-year, $58 million deal after losing Waker.
The UConn product averaged a career-high 25.6 points per game in 2018-19. The Hornets failed to make the playoffs in six of Walker's eight years with the organization, reaching the postseason in 2013-14 and 2015-16.