Michael Jordan entered this season with two main goals for his Charlotte Hornets: 1) Make the playoffs; 2) Re-sign Kemba Walker in the offseason.
Charlotte, at 26-26, is currently the seven seed in the East, three games up on ninth-seeded Detroit. The Hornets look like a playoff team, but Jordan wants to both secure that and make the kind of move that tells Walker they are serious. Rumors of their interest in Memphis’ center Marc Gasol have bounced around the league since the Grizzlies said he was available.
Now, those appear to be more than rumors, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Adding to the “this feels real” sense about this trade.
Gasol would be an upgrade at center for Charlotte, who desperately missed Cody Zeller at the five when he was out injured. Gasol would improve the Hornets on both ends.
The question is who goes back to Memphis? Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, ($13 million this season and a player option for the same next season) has been rumored to be in it, and the Grizzlies might want promising young center Willy Hernangomez. After that maybe Malik Monk? Jeremy Lamb? The Grizzlies will listen to just about anything that doesn’t include Jaren Jackson Jr.
This has the feel of a trade that gets done.
Whether that is enough to keep Kemba in Charlotte next July is a question for another day.