With the Los Angeles Lakers not having any salary cap space, the only contract they could offer to free agents aside from minimum deals was the mid-level exception. The front office would decide to use all of it on former San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV.
Walker spent his first four seasons in San Antonio and during his time there, they were undergoing a youth movement with little pressure to bring home a championship. That is not the case with the Lakers as the franchise wants to maximize its chance while LeBron James is on the roster. But Walker doesn’t feel any added pressure.
“No pressure at all. Quite frankly I don’t really believe in pressure if I’m gonna be honest with you,” Walker said during Lakers’ Media Day. “It either breaks pipes or makes diamonds and I’m sure as hell a diamond.
“I’m just here to play. I’m here to win. I love this game I’ve been playing this game my entire life so I don’t think there’s much of a difference beside the name, the history, the culture, the background behind it. But it’s still hoopin. Once we get on that court, time will tell.”
This is certainly the right mindset to have as there is nothing comparable to the pressure that comes with being a member of the Lakers. For Walker to embrace that and not feel any pressure at all could serve him well this season.
The Lakers’ fanbase is extremely passionate and Walker is already experiencing some of that since signing with L.A.
“Once I signed with the Lakers it was sure as heck a different world,” Walker added. “I’ve been saying it all day today but, even people who don’t know basketball know the Lakers. Even if you don’t watch basketball, even if you never even knew what basketball was, people tend to just know who the Lakers are.
“So walking around I’ve been getting a lot of love, great energy, positive vibes, optimism so it’s been great. But San Antonio fans, they went hard too, but it’s just good to know the fanbase is giving me good, positive energy.”
Walker has flown under the radar within the Lakers’ backcourt options. With the team trading for Patrick Beverley and signing Dennis Schroder, along with a healthy Kendrick Nunn rejoining the team and Austin Reaves looking to improve on an impressive rookie season, Walker hasn’t been spoken about nearly as much.
But with his ability to score in bunches, Walker has the opportunity to carve out a real role for himself on a Lakers team that plans to surprise a lot of people this season.
Walker dealing with ankle injury as Lakers training camp begins
Unfortunately for Walker, he will have some ground to make up as he is one of a couple of Lakers who aren’t able to fully participate as training camp kicks off.
Walker is dealing with a minor ankle injury and has been a limited participant so far as things kick off for the 2022-23 season. Additionally, Troy Brown Jr. is dealing with a back injury and is a limited participant for the Lakers so far.
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