Sunday, September 24 2023

Guard Lonnie Walker IV was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers for $6.5 million last summer via their mid-level exception. Although some were skeptical he was worth that much, he proved to be a good value signing for the Purple and Gold.

Walker was arguably the team’s third-best offensive player during the first half of the season and one of its few consistent 3-point threats. A knee ailment sidelined him for about a month at midseason, and after he returned, he fell out of the rotation, only to re-emerge there during the playoffs.

Since Walker was given a one-year contract in 2022, he will be a free agent once again this summer. Jovan Buha of The Athletic feels he will command around $4-7 million a year, which would make it difficult for the Lakers to keep him.

Via HoopsHype:

“Lonnie’s situation is a bit of a tricky one. First, there’s the Klutch Sports connection, which is always a factor with any Lakers guys… He played really well in the first half of the season. The second half of the season, they started Austin [Reaves] and brought in Malik Beasley. Troy Brown was playing well, and Lonnie fell out of the rotation. In Game 4 against the [Golden State] Warriors, he potentially saved the Lakers’ season. I think that playoff performance and him re-emerging in the rotation bumps him up into that mini mid-level range again or the bi-annual exception on him. I think he’s in that $4-7 million range.

“In his exit interviews, he made it clear he thinks highly of himself. He’s very confident. He wants a big role. From the Lakers’ side, they have his non-Bird Rights. I think he’s probably looking more at his role in his next contract that he’ll prioritize. I suspect he’ll end up elsewhere at a place where he can start or be a sixth or seventh man.”

Lakers executive Rob Pelinka said recently that running it back and maintaining roster continuity are big goals this offseason. However, it remains to be seen how much the organization values Walker moving forward.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


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