The Cleveland Cavaliers are working on a trade that would bring Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker to the team. This move is seen as a last-ditch effort to keep LeBron James from leaving in free agency.
LeBron led Cleveland to the 2018 NBA Finals. But the team was swept by a far more-talented Golden State Warriors squad. James’ lack of supporting cast is largely seen as a reason why the Cavs couldn’t compete with Golden State.
Bringing Walker in could help LeBron compete for another championship if he decides to stay in Cleveland. Walker averaged 22.1 PPG and 5.5 APG last year for the Hornets.
What are the Chances of the Cavs Pulling off the Walker Trade?
One roadblock working against Cleveland is their lack of assets. They drafted Alabama guard Collin Sexton with the eighth overall pick. But beyond him, it’s unclear what the Cavs could really offer Charlotte in a potential rebuilding effort.
Packaging Kevin Love in the trade would hurt Cleveland’s chances of playing for a title again. Ultimately, this may come down to sending Sexton and expiring contracts to the Hornets.
Here’s more from Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger on what the team hopes to accomplish:
“The Cavs continue to explore the possibility of working a deal with the Charlotte Hornets for two-time All-Star Kemba Walker, two league sources told B/R on Thursday night. Their best chance at such a deal would seem to have involved the eighth pick in the draft, which didn’t happen. One person close to Walker said Thursday night that he still believes such a deal is “possible.”
Another league source pushed the notion of a trade for Walker one step further when it comes to the Cavs’ chances of keeping LeBron: Acquiring Walker, the person said, “is the only way LeBron stays.”
Hornets GM Wants to Keep Walker Around
It also doesn’t help the Cavs’ chances of completing a Kemba Walker trade when considering that new Charlotte GM Mitch Kupchak likes what he sees in the 2-time All-Star.
Kupchak said that he believes Walker is “the focal point of this franchise going forward.” He expanded on these comments by telling ESPN the following:
“I don’t think it is anybody’s goal to lose him in free agency. But going forward, in the community, in the franchise, this is a player that we hope is with us. Not only for the next couple of years, but ends his career here.”
Dan Gilbert Issue Looms Large
LeBron James has shown love for his home state of Ohio. But it’s hard telling how far this love goes when considering that he’s had issues with Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
The beef started when James originally left Cleveland in 2010, prompting Gilbert to write a scathing letter while addressing fans about the team’s future. LeBron still came back to the Cavs in the 2014 offseason, because he wanted to win a championship for Ohio. However, he hasn’t enjoyed the greatest relationship with Gilbert ever since.
NJ.com’s Chris Sheridan reports that the two even have strong differences of opinion on politics. James isn’t a Trump fan, while Gilbert avidly supports the President.
Taking everything into account, it makes perfect sense why the Cavs need a miracle trade to keep James in Cleveland.