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Kemba Walker Returning to Hornets Makes Sense

Charlotte's all-time leading scorer may return.

Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak stated that the team probably wouldn't make a "splash move" in free agency. The primary focus was set on retaining Miles Bridges and Cody Martin along with some of others who were set to hit free agency.

With the recent arrest of Bridges, that strategy may be changing. Assuming the Hornets rescind the qualifying offer and choose to not bring him back, it will open a lot of money for the team to spend this offseason. Even then, I wouldn't expect Charlotte to do anything "sexy", but it will give them the flexibility to bolster their rotation. 

One position that remains up for grabs is the backup point guard spot. Isaiah Thomas excelled in that role after initially signing to a 10-day contract with the team in the middle of the season. In 17 games with the team, Thomas averaged 8.3 points per game and shot 39% from three-point range. 

Bringing back Thomas wouldn't be a bad idea and he would be considerably cheap but if the Hornets wanted to upgrade the position, they could consider a reunion with Kemba Walker, who is now a free agent after receiving a contract buyout from the Detroit Pistons.

At this stage of his career, Walker could be a BAE (Bi-Annual exception) which is worth around the neighborhood of $4.1-$4.2 million. This type of contract can only be used for teams that are over the salary cap, which applies to the Hornets.

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In the grand scheme of things, it makes sense for both parties. Walker would have the opportunity to come back to the organization he had the most success with and potentially finish out his career in Charlotte. Meanwhile, the Hornets would have a quality, reliable backup veteran guard that can help mentor LaMelo Ball and officially pass him the torch. 

Rumors have circulated for months about a potential return to Charlotte for Kemba but with Steve Clifford back in the head coach seat, it actually has a chance of happening. Walker knows Clifford's system and could help bridge the relationship between those on the roster with Clifford and his staff. 

In eight seasons with the Hornets from 2011-19, Walker averaged 19.8 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game. He made three All-Star appearances and in his final year (2018-19) he made the All-NBA team. Walker currently holds a number of franchise records including minutes played (20,607), field goals made (4,164), three-point field goals made (1,283), free-throws made (2,398), and points (12,009).

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