In addition to Walker's status with the team, Cho also addressed the Hornets' acquisition Wednesday of Willy Hernangomez. The Hornets traded Johnny O'Bryant and two second-round picks to the Knicks in exchange for Hernangomez, a second-year center out of Spain who had asked for a trade after failing to find a spot in New York's rotation.
Cho anticipates Hernangomez will play in Charlotte and does not plan to use him as a trade chip, even with Howard, Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller clogging up the frontcourt.
The Hornets would want to attach at least one undesirable contract to Walker in any deal, such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, Nic Batum or Dwight Howard, but it will take a strong return. Jordan told The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell in late January he would only be willing to trade Walker for an All-Star player. (Walker himself said he found "relief" from a direct conversation with Jordan.)
Kemba Walker could go down as the greatest player in Hornets franchise history once his career comes to a close, so it came as a huge surprise to Charlotte fans when news emerged last month that the front office had made Walker available in trade talks.
"We want to bring him here to get minutes and be part of our program," Cho said. "Obviously anything's possible down the road. We've scouted him a ton and really liked him in the draft a few years ago and look forward to having him here for a while."
"Just like every team, we do our due diligence," Cho said on a media conference call Wednesday afternoon. "We're not shopping Kemba, but it's our job to listen to different opportunities to improve the team. As [Hornets owner Michael Jordan] said, it would take something really great to move him.
Feb. 8, 2018
"We love Kemba, and he's a great player, All-Star caliber player. We're not looking to move him, but it's our job to listen."
Don't count on a deal involving Walker before Thursday's NBA trade deadline, though. The Hornets are taking calls about the team's leading scorer, but only a big offer would grab general manager Rich Cho's attention.
"I'm telling you I believe in my team," Jordan said at the time. "I'm disappointed in our record and I'm frustrated at times. But I'm telling you I like everything about Kemba's work. I'm not just going to throw him away."
Published on Feb. 8, 2018
Can the same be said for Walker? There are no guarantees ahead of the deadline, but at the moment, all signs point to Walker wearing a Hornets jersey after 3 p.m. ET on Thursday afternoon.
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