Kemba Walker believes he's a winner and while the Charlotte Hornets have been winning of late, they are far from a winning team.
Therein lies a problem for Walker, who with 20 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight will become the franchise's all-time leading scorer. Dell Curry, father of Steph, holds the Hornets' record with 9,939 points. Walker has 9,920.
While Walker loves living in Charlotte and is building a dream house there, his four-year $48 million contract expires after next season, sending him into unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2019.
Even though Charlotte (34-41) has won four straight as Cleveland comes to town, the Hornets, who are saddled with several expensive veteran contracts for next season, will not be in the playoffs.
That doesn't sit well with Walker, an NBA All-Star the this season and last.
“At this point, I want to win. I want to be in the playoffs,” Walker told the Charlotte Observer. “I’m tired of not being in the playoffs. ... I hate watching them on TV."
Walker led the University of Connecticut a national championship. Since being drafted by the Hornets, his teams have reached the playoffs only twice.
“I’ve been there twice in seven years, and it’s just not fun” missing out.
The Hornets are in a state of flux. The team is expected to hire a new general manager in the near future to replace the departed Rich Cho. It's possible the plan will be a longterm rebuild, meaning trading Walker, the team's biggest bargaining chip, in the final year of his contract could be an option.
At this point, Walker's preference is to remain in Charlotte, but he realize's it's not his choice.
“Hopefully, I’ll be here for a long time., he said. “Whenever we get a new GM, we’ll see what direction he wants to go.
"And I’ll make the best decision for me.”
Walker made it clear, he wants to win.
“I’ve always felt like I’m a winning player. Like I deserved it to be in the playoffs – to be battling,” he said. “That’s what it will be all about in the future.”