Charlotte Hornets considering trade of All-Star point guard Kemba Walker

The Charlotte Hornets are experiencing a rough season and have decided to shop star guard Kemba Walker, according to multiple reports.

Moving Walker, an All-Star last season, would indicate the team is prepared to rebuild in hopes of a brighter future. It also will irritate the team's fan base.

The highly popular Walker is averaging 21.7 points and 5.8 assists this season. He is just 27 years old and has a bargain contract in which he is being paid $12 million annually through the 2018-19 season.

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Walker was stunned at the initial reports and told reporters on Friday that he would be upset if traded.

"This is where I got my opportunity," said Walker, the team's first-round draft choice in 2011. "I've been here for seven years and do a lot with the community. I've gotten to know a lot of the fans. A lot of the fans have a lot of love for me, as well as I got love for them.

"Of course I'm going to be tied to this place. This is kind of where I've grown up. This is definitely home."

Hornets coach Steve Clifford returned to the team earlier this week after a bout with headaches and sleep deprivation. He said reports of the Hornets (18-25) shopping Walker are merely rumors.

"I think the same thing everyone else does," Clifford said. "He's our best player. He's the face of the franchise. And I think it'd be very difficult to find a scenario where he'd get traded."

Published reports state the team made the decision to shop Walker after it was unable to find takers for some of the squad's other players.

Players such as guard Nicolas Batum (four years, $100 million), center Dwight Howard (two years, $47 million), forward Marvin Williams (three years, $42 million) and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (three years, $39 million) were unappealing to other NBA teams either due to contract or performance, and in some cases both.

Apparently, owner Michael Jordan and general manager Rich Cho are hoping a willingness to move Walker might tempt a team to pick up one of the players with a bad contract as well.

That doesn't make Walker feel any better about hearing his name floating around per the trade market.

"This is the first time I've really been in this situation, but what can I do," Walker said. "I'm still here, I've been here the last seven year. I'm going to do what I can do to help my team win games, that's all I can do. I have no control over those kind of things, so I try and keep my mind off of it."

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Batum heard the Walker rumors on Friday morning and said he was stunned and can't see it happening.

"He's the captain. The best player. An All-Star. He's our leader," Batum told reporters. "He's everything for us and we go as he goes. I've played with great guys in my career and he's up there."

Walker has an 18.6 career average and this is the third straight season in which he is averaging more than 20 points per game. He averaged a career-best 23.2 last season.

--Field Level Media

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