Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 5.2
DEN receives: PG Kemba Walker
CHA receives: PG Jamal Murray, PF Trey Lyles, F Jarred Vanderbilt
Kemba Walker is having an All-Star caliber season averaging 25.1 PPG (career-high), 5.8 APG, and 4.3 RPG. Being in the final year of his contract, rumor has it that Walker intends to stay with the Hornets. However, nothing is ever set in stone, especially in NBA. If Charlotte was to move the 28-year-old, the return would take a hit considering other teams taking the risk of a rental.
The only way Denver makes this trade, is if they believe Walker would re-sign in July. Jamal Murray is second on the team in points per game (18.4) behind Nikola Jokic and has solidified himself as their point guard for the future. Even with the risk of rental, a swap would not work because of contracts and the fact that Charlotte may get a better package elsewhere. Adding forwards Trey Lyles and Jarred Vanderbilt would not only match salaries, but it would give the Charlotte frontcourt some intriguing young options.
In 19.1 MPG, Lyles is scoring 9.2 PPG and grabbing 4.3 RPG. Although not a franchise centerpiece, the 23-year-old would supply the Hornets with much needed youth and depth. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has not made his NBA-debut due to injury, but there is hope that the rookie will be able to grow into a quality role player.
If Charlotte would happen to deal Walker, there may not be a better package out there. Adding a franchise point guard, quality power forward, and a young forward with potential, would be a best-case scenario for the Hornets. For Denver, the decision is easy. Yes losing Murray may sting, but it’s a clear upgrade to a team that is ready to compete against Golden State for a title. Cutting ties with Lyles and Vanderbilt are necessary to bring in a player who can add another dimension to your team.