After qualifying for a supermax contract can the Dallas Mavericks still realistically sign Kemba Walker this summer in free agency?
For months the Dallas Mavericks have been linked with free-agent-to-be, Kemba Walker. Walker, the 6’1” Charlotte All-Star, was said to be growing weary of losing and looked to spread his wings and find a winner to join this summer.
While the Dallas Mavericks may not be that obvious upgrade in the winner department, they do appear to have one of the NBA’s rosier futures with building blocks, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, firmly in place.
Additionally, The Dallas Mavericks are in a relatively good place cap-wise. With Tim Hardaway Jr the only true ugly contract on the books, and Doncic still playing on his rookie deal. The addition of Kemba could vault the Mavs from a lottery team to a top-5 Western Conference playoff team in just one season.
If he’s offered the supermax, he’s going to take it. But that doesn’t mean Charlotte is guaranteed to offer him the supermax.
While many MFFL have been hesitant to endorse Walker-to-the-Mavs (like yours truly), the match wasn’t necessarily seen as a bad one either. Sure Walker is small and would be a defensive liability on a team already full of defensive liabilities, but he’s a proven scorer that would undeniably increase the Mavs chances of making a run in the playoffs.
And juuuuust when many of us were about to be talked into Kemba,, something like this happens.
Last week, Kemba Walker earned third team All-NBA qualifying him for a supermax deal this summer. This equates to a 5-year $221 million contract if Kemba stays in Charlotte. If he walks he leaves roughly $80 million on the table.
Now I value winning just as much as the next guy but if the cost of joining a winner comes at $80 million, I’ll be fine floundering in mediocrity. As a reasonable human being, I suspect Walker will feel similarly.
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Does this mean Kemba is no longer a viable option? It doesn’t mean he’s no longer a possibility but he’s officially fallen into “long-shot” status. If he’s offered the supermax, he’s going to take it. But that doesn’t mean Charlotte is guaranteed to offer him the supermax.
The kind of money the supermax demands can be crippling for a franchise. If the Hornets lock him into that $221 million deal, they’re destined for four years of being a fringe playoff team.
If they lose him they will be destined for four years of lottery picks (and a chance at building a more complete and cost-efficient team). If they’re exclusively looking four year down the road, cutting bait, clearing cap room, and building for the future make sense.
But they need to sell tickets now, that’s why re-signing him (even if the contract is ridiculous and crippling) is a must. Who would anyone buy season tickets if Kemba was gone and defeat was all but assured?
There are reasons Charlotte would not offer the supermax and Kemba would leave to a place like Dallas. But the Hornets are between a rock and a hard place and the economics say they have to retain Kemba to sell tickets, even if it limits the ceiling of the franchise.
- Published on 06/04/2019 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 06/03/2019 at 08:03 AM