The Charlotte Hornets can offer Kemba Walker significantly more money than any other suitor. That doesn’t mean the team necessarily has to put that offer on the table in order to keep the point guard.

Walker has told WCNC’s Nick Carboni that he would be willing to sign with the Hornets for less than the supermax. Charlotte can offer their best player a five-year contract worth $221 million, while other NBA teams can only guarantee him about $141 million over four years.

Charlotte isn’t expected to offer Walker the supermax. According to multiple reports, the Hornets aren’t likely to keep Walker if it means having to pay the luxury tax, which giving their star the most money possible would do.

Walker isn’t a superstar on the same level as Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard, but he will be among the most sought-after players in free agency. He’s one of four players that are set to hit the open market after starting in the 2019 All-Star Game.

Walker could be the key for a team that is unable to sign a top-tier free agent in its attempt to salvage the summer. The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are in that group, considering what might happen in free agency.

Los Angeles is the favorite to trade for Anthony Davis, but they would also like to use their available max salary slot on an All-Star. The Lakers won’t sign Durant after his Achilles injury, and they are long shots to land either Leonard or Klay Thompson.

Kyrie Irving is likely headed to the Brooklyn Nets. The Philadelphia 76ers can pay Jimmy Butler more than any other team.

The Knicks have been hoping to pair Irving with Durant. If the rumors of Irving eyeing Brooklyn are true, Walker becomes the Knicks’ prime target at point guard.

Walker is from New York City and putting him on the same team as a healthy Durant would make the Knicks one of the best teams in the East. The two All-Stars won’t play together with the Knicks next season, and it sounds like New York could have trouble getting them on the roster for 2020 when Durant is hopefully playing like his old self.

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts as head coach James Borrego of the Charlotte Hornets watches on during their game against the Houston Rockets at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 27, 2019. Getty Images/Streeter Lecka