The Memphis Grizzlies today announced its five-game 2019-20 preseason schedule, which will begin with a trio of home exhibitions at FedExForum. The Grizzlies will tip-off the schedule by hosting international opponents Maccabi Haifa in the preseason opener at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 6 and the New Zealand Breakers at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8 (all times Central). Memphis then will host the Charlotte Hornets at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 14.
Walker qualified for the $221 million super-maximum contract over five seasons by earning a spot on the All-NBA third team after another All-Star season, but was open to signing a deal less than that amount. He simply wanted the Hornets to present him with a proposal that he could justify, even if it was slightly less than the normal max of $190 million. None of it came. “Tough days, fucking tough days, I can’t even lie,” Walker told The Athletic. “Excuse my language. It was difficult. I couldn’t see myself just being on another team. It was just hard. That’s all I’ve known was Charlotte. Definitely some tough times. I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to get the offer that I wanted, and maybe not close to it, because of cap space. “I had to get my head wrapped around the feeling and picking another team.”
The Hornets’ best offer to Walker was just under $160 million over five years, league sources told The Athletic, and in the meantime, the Kyrie Irving-less Celtics emerged as a significant appeal to the 29-year-old. For their part, the Hornets moved onto another young free-agent point guard, the Celtics’ Terry Rozier, who signed a fully guaranteed three-year, $58 million contract.