With Malik Monk choosing to take a bigger money deal to join the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers had to turn elsewhere to add a young, scoring guard piece that they lost. That player turned out to be Lonnie Walker IV, who agreed to join the Lakers on a one-year deal for the entirety of the team’s taxpayer mid-level exception worth $6.5 million.
The Lakers originally offered that exception to Monk, who turned it down, leaving it open for Walker, who unexpectedly became an unrestricted free agent. Walker originally was restricted after the San Antonio Spurs extended the qualifying offer to him, meaning they could match any deal he signed. But surprisingly they would rescind that offer, allowing him to sign with the Lakers.
This was apparently at the behest of Walker himself as, according to LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk, the young guard asked the Spurs to rescind the offer so he could maximize his value as a free agent and San Antonio obliged:
Hours after extending the qualifying offer to Lonnie Walker IV to make him a restricted free agent, the Spurs rescinded the qualifying offer. Walker promptly signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to a person close to the situation, Walker asked the Spurs to rescind the qualifying offer so that he could maximize his value in free agency by becoming an unrestricted free agent. As it turned out, Walker’s contract with the Lakers (one year for $6.5 million) was basically identical to his qualifying offer.
This makes a lot of sense as it seemed odd that the Spurs would simply allow a young guard with potential to walk away for nothing when they could have kept him around, especially after dealing away All-Star Dejounte Murray. But Walker saw a better fit and opportunity elsewhere and will have the chance to show his growth with the Lakers next season.
Walker has great potential on both sides of the ball and while he must improve his efficiency, is a player capable of creating his own shot and can get hot at any minute. For the Lakers, taking a flier on a player with his skill makes all the sense in the world after losing Monk.
Lakers agree to one-year minimum deal with Juan Toscano-Anderson
The Lakers also made a couple of other moves at the start of free agency and perhaps the most intriguing is agreeing to a one-year deal with Juan Toscano-Anderson, who won a championship with the Golden State Warriors last season.
Toscano-Anderson hopefully will become a better shooter, but he is an excellent defender capable of making things tough on the big wings that dominate today’s NBA. So far the Lakers have done an excellent job at making low risk additions that could pay off much greater returns.
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