The Los Angeles Lakers are using a $6.5 million exception for former San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. According to Spotrac, the Lakers were over $41 million to become a free agent, meaning the most money the team had to spend this summer as their taxpayer exception would be allotted to Walker.
Without a deal, the Lakers will be forced to fill the remaining slots on their roster by signing veteran players on minimal deals. The former five-star prospect had a lot of advantages at just 23 years old. Walker hit career-high numbers last season with 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 23 minutes per game in 70 appearances. Walker has been a career three-pointer 34.3% but has only shot 31.4% from long range in 2021-22.
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Walker was selected by Spurs with the 18th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft
Out of Reading High School in Pennsylvania, ESPN ranked Walker as the No. 13 player and the keeper 2 with an overall score of 93 in 2017. After a standout season in Miami, the Spurs picked Walker with the No. 18. overall pick in NBA 2018 draft.
Walker is seen by many as a potential draw. Former ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz (who joined the Blazers office) thinks Walker is “one of the more talented two defenders on the draft”.
“Lonnie Walker caught off guard in Miami showing off his explosiveness and shooting potential in LA. One of the two more talented Guardians in the draft,” Schmitz tweeted on May 20, 2018 during pre-draft training.
Walker has a competitive chance to get a job starting with the Lakers
The good news is that the Lakers were a bit younger when adding Walker, but Los Angeles also lost Malik Monk to the Kings on his first day of freedom. The fact that the Lakers gave Walker the biggest deal they could possibly see shows just how much they want to get the keeper.
With the current roster, Walker has a good chance of competing with Austin Reaves and others to become the Lakers’ starting keeper next season. In a January 2020 interview, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich praised the growth he has seen in Walker’s game since his arrival in San Antonio.
“He’s a quick learner, he’s a pretty good decision-maker but he prides himself on playing defensively, running the floor and trying to do all the basics,” Popovich said at the time. according to San Antonio News 4. “…He paid the fee and, as I said, he learned the importance of decision making and timing, what is a good shot, what is a good shot and How to play with teammates. “
Walker became another Klutch Sports client to join LeBron James’ Lakers. Time will tell whether the Lakers can make any other major additions this season without the limited space available to offer veterans. The Lakers have also had a number of other notable signings including former Warriors winger Juan Toscano-Anderson and former Bulls forward Troy Brown.
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https://heavy.com/sports/los-angeles-lakers/nba-free-agency-rumors-lonnie-walke/ Lakers Rumors: LA Lands Spurs SG Lonnie Walker in Free Agency