Lonnie Walker IV signed with the Los Angeles Lakers after finding himself outside of the San Antonio Spurs’ plans for the future.
The Spurs traded star guard Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks not long after the 2022 NBA Draft concluded, signaling their readiness to rebuild the roster. Then, San Antonio withdrew the qualifying offer on Walker after he asked the team to make him an unrestricted free agent.
The 23-year-old guard said he saw the Spurs were moving on from the project he was a part of and decided it was time for him to start fresh too. “For me it’s a lot different, all I know is the Spurs organization so obviously going into the offseason you probably wanna go back with what you’re comfortable with as far as going back with the Spurs,” Walker said.
“That was something I had my eye on at first. But seeing the whole thing with Dejounte moving and them trying to restart and start fresh, it kind of seemed like I wasn’t a part of that restart, refresh movement, which is perfectly fine. I’m ready to continue to just better myself.
“There’s a lot of things that are out of my hand, I can only control what I can. God willing, and with good vibes and positivity I’m with one of the best franchises in the league.”
Having hit free agency, Walker signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Lakers. And he thinks his four years in San Antonio prepared him well to fit into L.A.’s system. “First of all with Coach Pop, it’s always been about professionalism,” he said.
“Staying in the gym, and not making the game too complex, not too complicated. With the Spurs we lived by three things: .5 as far as catch-and-shoot, drive, or pass, being as decisive as you can so transitioning on to the Lakers I kinda carry on those same models as far as professionalism, staying in the gym, and being decisive.
“Ready to shoot, ready to pass, or ready to go for a layup.”
Walker dares defenders to leave him open
Walker shot the ball well in his first three seasons with the Spurs, making 36.9% of his triples. However, that number dipped to 31.4% last year.
Still, Walker said he has confidence in his shot after putting in extra work in the gym to fix his aim. The guard added he’ll punish the defenders who’ll leave him with too much space to shoot next season.
“I mean, last year you can look at the percentages but I kid you not, leave me open and we gonna see what happens,” Walker said.
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