Old Faces, Old Places: Kemba Walker Extends With Charlotte Hornets

Oct 20, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford talks with guard Kemba Walker (15) during a time out in their game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Player: Kemba Walker

The Team: Charlotte Hornets

The Contract: 4 years, $48 million, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein

How does it affect the cap situation?

Walker’s new contract is an extension of his rookie deal, so it has no tangible effect on this year’s cap. He remains on the books for an approximately $3.27 million hit this season.

According to the Basketball Insiders salary database, Walker’s extension calls for equal $12 million cap hits for each of the four seasons from 2015 to 2019. Charlotte is in good salary position next offseason, with only $45 million or so in guaranteed money on the books, including the value of Walker’s extension. If Al Jefferson accepts his player option, that figure will rise to somewhere between $58 and $59 million, still leaving over some room for a veteran signing or two. Walker is also the only player with his contract guaranteed beyond 2016, though youngins Cody Zeller, Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston, as well as Lance Stephenson have team options, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is due a qualifying offer.

How does it affect the luxury tax?

It doesn’t. Charlotte is nowhere close to the tax now or in the near future.

What’s next?

Convincing Al Jefferson to stick around. Owner Michael Jordan clearly values the solidity and leadership Walker and Jefferson bring to the team, telling the Charlotte Observer, “They are core pieces of what we’re trying to do … I’d like to keep both of those guys. I say I’d like to and I’d spend the money that’s appropriate. I’ll make every attempt to keep them.” Once Al is locked in, whether via his player option or a new contact, the Hornets can continue building around him, Walker, and if he doesn’t go crazy, Stephenson and the rest of the young talent on hand.