Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan will listen to offers for point guard Kemba Walker. If the proposed deal does not include an All-Star player in return, however, expect him to hang up the phone.
In an interview with Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, Jordan admits that he "would listen to opportunities" to trade the one-time All-Star, but added that any deal would need to net a player with equal credentials:
“We bred him, we chose him, we groomed him to be a good player for us,” Jordan said of Walker, who the Hornets drafted ninth overall in 2011, to a great extent because Jordan saw traits in Walker that reminded him of his own playing career.
“It’s not like we are shopping him. We would not just give him up. I love Kemba Walker. I would not trade him for anything but an All-Star player.”
“I certainly haven’t given up on our best player. He’s done a hell of a job of turning himself into an All-Star.”
Walker has played his entire six-year career with the Hornets, dating back to when they were formerly known as the Charlotte Bobcats. He had steadily improved multiple aspects of his game until this season. Injuries have derailed the progress of several teammates, forcing Walker to face constant defensive attention that has in turn diminished his production and efficiency. Walker is currently averaging 21.7 points, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals per contest.
Jordan cited Walker's career-long efforts to become an All-Star-caliber player as one of the many reasons he values the 27-year-old.
The Hornets are 19-26 and four games out of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Walker is the franchise's only drafted player to become an All-Star since Baron Davis received the honor in 2002.
“I’m telling you I believe in my team,” Jordan also told the newspaper. “I’m disappointed in our record and I’m frustrated at times. But I’m telling you I like everything about Kemba’s work. I’m not just going to throw him away.”