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Kemba Walker: Leaving Hornets ‘one of the hardest decisions of my life’

Kemba Walker is happy to have joined the Boston Celtics, something he made clear during Wednesday’s introductory news conference, but the superstar admitted the decision to leave the Charlotte Hornets was an agonizing one.

Walker ended up with the Celtics courtesy of a sign-and-trade after agreeing to a four-year, $140.79 million contract with the Hornets. The deal ultimately involved Terry Rozier heading to Charlotte, along with the exchange of a handful of draft picks, as well.

Walker spent nine seasons with the Hornets, becoming a fan favorite and franchise icon in the process. His devotion to the Charlotte community and the Hornets organization made his decision to depart a difficult one.

“It was definitely one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Walker said, via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Charlotte’s all I’ve known. It came down to my happiness and wanting to compete night in and night out. … My time was up there. I’m excited to start a new chapter.”

With the break with the Hornets now in the rear-view mirror, Walker is excited to start a new chapter. During his introductory presser, he explained why he chose the Celtics.

“For me, it’s the competitiveness of this organization,” Walker said. “They’ve been winning for years. You see all the banners upstairs and in the arena. It’s a winning organization and I wanna win. That’s what I’m about. During my basketball career as a pro, I haven’t won consistently, and I just wanna get a taste of that. I thought this was the best place for me to do that.”

Walker joins Enes Kanter — who made quite the splash at Wednesday’s presser alongside his new teammate — as the Celtics’ two major gets in free agency. The duo, along with holdovers Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown, among others, will head up a new-look Celtics squad eager to move on from the dysfunctional Kyrie Irving era.

The fact that both Walker and Kanter are thrilled with their new surroundings ought to make achieving that goal that much easier.