Lakers sign Lonnie Walker IV to one-year deal

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The long wait is now over. Minutes after signing Damian Jones to a two-year deal, the Lakers finally used their tax-payer midlevel exception. According to Shams Sharania of the Athletic, the Lakers have agreed to a one-year deal with Lonnie Walker IV.

The Lakers entered the free agency period with not much to offer. The TMLE was what Lakers fans were most excited about. Dan Woike of the LA Times confirmed that the Lakers used the tax-payer mid-level exception on Walker, who became a free agent when the San Antonio Spurs pulled their qualifying offer earlier today.

Walker averaged 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game with the Spurs last season. The 6-foot-4 guard out of Miami is barely 23 years old, injecting some much needed youth to the Lakers roster.  Walker will have a great opportunity to improve his game with the Lakers as there will be enough playing time to go around.

Some were hoping the Lakers signed Gary Harris or Otto Porter Jr. with the TMLE, but they will be left disappointed. Harris in particular shot 38% percent from beyond the arc, which is they type of shooting the Lakers need. Walker shot 31% percent last season, so it’s quite the difference between the two. Porter on the other hand is a much bigger wing that gives the Lakers flexibility and shot 37% from deep. While he is 29, that was one name some were really excited about.

Also, another ramification of this signing affects newly drafted Laker Max Christie. According to Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype, the Lakers can only offer Christie a two-year deal as a result of using their TMLE.

While this may not seem to be harmful, if Christie turns into another late-draft gem, they will have to pay him much sooner. However, this is one of those “we will cross that bridge when we get there” situations. The sadder note is that the Lakers can only sign minimum deals now.
Let’s hope they are able to find some diamonds in the rough.

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