By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
A Freudian slip during Wednesday’s press conference saw Kemba Walker say that he was happy for Jordan.
That’s Michael Jordan, in case you didn’t know.
The same Jordan who owns the Charlotte Hornets, and the same Jordan who was not willing to pay Walker a supermax contract (and subsequent luxury tax penalty) to keep him in Charlotte. (It was reported last year that the Hornets’ final offer to Walker was for less than $170 million over five years.)
Jordan and the Hornets have since committed $120 million to Gordon Hayward. And with Nic Batum waived this week, spreading the $27 million he’s owed out into $9 million blocks over the next three seasons, the Hornets are essentially paying $39 million per year to have Hayward on their roster. It’s pretty damn close to what they would’ve paid Walker on the supermax. And lest we forget that they also committed $58 million over three years to Walker’s direct replacement, ex-Celtic Terry Rozier, in 2019.
It’d be easy to understand why Walker, who departed the franchise as their all-time leading scorer, could feel stung by that.
But given how view of his situation — as well as Hayward’s — perhaps Walker’s slip (and his smile) tell a true story.
“Nah, I couldn’t care less,” Walker, drawing out the ‘nah’ longer than most, offered. “I’m in the place I’m supposed to be. This is all God’s work. I can’t control none of that stuff.”
In the place he’s supposed to be, and no longer tasked with the burden of carrying the team on his back every single night, Walker averaged 20.4 points and 4.8 assists per game in 56 regular-season contests for the Celtics. He then battled through a lingering knee injury (one that will delay his 2020-21 season) and averaged 19.6 points per night and shot over 44.1 percent during a 17-game postseason run inside the Orlando bubble.
He also has zero regrets or thoughts of what could’ve been had Jordan & Co. been willing to spend in 2019, not 2020.
“I made my choice to come to Boston because this is where I wanted to be because it makes me happy,” Walker said. “And G, I’m sure he’s happy. He’s gonna have a great time in Charlotte. It’s a great place to be, it’s a great city, great fans, they love basketball. They’re gonna love Gordon. Whatever makes someone happy in this league, that’s what it’s about. It’s not about any, any, anybody else.
“I’m happy for Gordon. And Jordan, too.”
Ty Anderson and Matt Dolloff talked about the Celtics and much more in the newest episode of the Sidelines Podcast on Wednesday. Have a listen below.