Kemba Walker to have knee surgery; Hornets looking at trades for depth while he is out

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The Charlotte Hornets are not going to be able to replace Kemba Walker. He has averaged 18.8 points and 5.2 assists a game for them this season, and when he is on the court their offense jumps 3.3 points per 100 possessions. Coach Steve Clifford recently called Walker the Bobcats best player.

But Charlotte is going to have to try to replace him.

As we said could be coming, Walker is going to need knee surgery, something first reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

The team has since confirmed the news.

This is a setback for Walker, who at age 24 was having the best, most efficient season of his career.

The good news for the Hornets — currently sitting as the eight seed in the East after winning 10 of 12 games — is they could have Walker back for the playoffs, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

That would have him back likely in the middle of March, a month before the playoffs start.

The problem is, even at the bottom of the lowly East playoff race, the Hornets can’t afford a big step back while Walker is out and still make the playoffs. Right now Brian Roberts is the next point guard on the depth chart, although what this really means is the ball in Lance Stephenson’s hands more. So the Hornets are looking at trades to bridge the gap until Walker is back.

The Nets and Hornets are also talking about a potential deal involving Stephenson for Joe Johnson and other players, which could provide some scoring and ball handling depth while Walker is out. However, the Hornets could pull back in their talks due to this injury.