Lakers News: Lonnie Walker IV bids farewell to Spurs on social media

Opening day of free agency was a frenzy as expected, with many deals done in the first half hour. With no cap space to work with, the Los Angeles Lakers did a solid job on day one, agreeing terms with Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Troy Brown Jr. on minimum agreements.

Minimum offers on young players like these three are a step in the right direction and a testament to the organization’s efforts to become younger and more athletic.

The real question for the Lakers was how they would use their Mid-Tier Taxpayer Exception, as it was their only real tool to sign an impact free agent. The answer would have been Lonnie Walker IV after he was surprisingly let go by the San Antonio Spurs.

Although a deal has not been officially announced, Walker posted a farewell message to the city of San Antonio and the Spurs organization on his Instagram account:

Walker has the edge as an athletic guard who can reach the rim and has shown flashes of being a good 3-point shooter despite a down year last season on higher volume. However, given what the 3 and D wings got in free agency, it makes sense that the Lakers quickly turned to Walker with their taxpayer mid-level exception, even if it didn’t feel very optimal.

Darvin Ham is said to be working closely with Rob Pelinka on building the roster, so he must feel confident that Walker is adapting his system. Los Angeles has a strong player development team led by Phil Handy, so there’s optimism the 23-year-old can show the rest of the league he has plenty of upside left.

Walker will have to play a leading role in helping the Lakers get back into contention, but the front office has a lot of work to do to get back to that level of play.

Lonnie Walker IV has asked Spurs to withdraw his offer to qualify

The Spurs appear to be in the midst of a rebuild after trading Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for a series of first-round picks. With the team looking to restart, it made sense to decide to let Walker enter free agency.

Maybe San Antonio wanted to keep him, but Walker allegedly asked them to rescind his qualifying offer so he could go for free agency, which ended up going to Los Angeles’ advantage.

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