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Kemba Walker’s agent says Hornets were only ‘prepared to go so far’ with offer

Kemba Walker, Celtics, Hornets

Kemba Walker’s agent Jeff Schwartz has seen and lived the heart-pulsing nature of free agency, eventually navigating the waters for the first time with his client and helping him reach a new destination with the Boston Celtics after the Charlotte Hornets were only prepared to go so far into an offer.

Despite the free agent frenzy and rabid player movement this summer, Schwartz said he’d always prefer clients stay on their current teams if the contractual terms and the situation are right.

“Players have put in their time to build equity there, and the team has put time in the players,” Schwartz told Forbes’ Kurt Badehausen.

Walker played for the Hornets for eight seasons before their inevitable breakup, only reaching the postseason twice in his tenure there and never coming close to sniffing anything past the first round.

Schwartz acknowledged money and winning did not align this summer. Walker is a three-time All-Star who was most recently named to the All-NBA Third Team, making him eligible for a $221 million supermax deal with the team. Yet he walked away from a reported five-year, $160 million offer from the Hornets to sign for even less than that sum for a chance to win in Boston.

“Charlotte was uncomfortable paying Kemba the number he wanted based on where the team was,” said Schwartz. “They didn’t think they were a significant playoff team, so they were only prepared to go so far. For Kemba, that was not enough for him to stay there.”

While the $141 million over four years with Boston was $80 million less than what he could get, the Hornets never came close to reaching that figure and Walker had to put winning before earning after playing in a bargain contract for the past four seasons.