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Kemba Walker says he’s open to taking less than supermax from Hornets

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Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker has less than two weeks to go until he officially enters unrestricted free agency.

At his basketball camp in Charlotte today, the Hornets star said he’d be open to taking less than the supermax this summer. He told reporters at the camp, which was held at Ardrey Kell High School in south Charlotte, that his willingness to do so was to help the Hornets build a better team around him going forward.

“Yeah, why not? Yeah I would be. I would take less, yeah,” Walker said when asked if he’d take less than the supermax to help the Hornets build around him.

When asked by The Athletic’s Rod Boone if he wanted to remain in Charlotte, Walker said: “I don’t know how many times I can say that. I’m not going to lie. I don’t know how many times I can say it. But if it doesn’t work out I’m definitely prepared to play somewhere else. But yes, I would love to be in Charlotte.”

In an interview with Jared Weiss of The Athletic earlier this month, Walker had said re-signing with the Hornets is his “first priority.” On Thursday, he reiterated that point but said that doesn’t make it automatic he will stay in Charlotte. Walker told reporters he plans to meet with other NBA teams before making his decision and that he plans to lean on his agent, Jeff Schwartz, throughout the process.

Walker qualified for the supermax extension from the Hornets after making the third-team All-NBA this season, which could pay him more than $220 million over five years. He averaged a career-high 25.6 points and 5.9 assists for the Hornets this season while earning his third straight All-Star selection.

Veteran forward Marvin Williams reportedly exercised his option for next season, in which he will earn $15 million. Swingman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a $13 million player option for next season, but he has not made his decision yet (and has until June 22 to do so). The Hornets are also already on the books for Nicolas Batum ($25.56 million), Bismack Biyombo ($17 million) and Cody Zeller ($14.47 million) next season — although Biyombo and Williams are both in the final years of their respective deals.

The Hornets don’t have the money to sign a difference-maker in free agency, which will likely leave GM Mitch Kupchak to acquire talent through a trades. Walker had said in the past he wants to continue playing for the Hornets and “create something special here” because he loves living in Charlotte. But the 6-foot-1 point guard appeared to slightly back off those statements as the 2018-19 season ended, saying repeatedly “I want to win.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers

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Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.



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Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers

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Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.

Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.

 The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.

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Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup

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Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.

During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.

Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.



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