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Report: Lakers signing Lonnie Walker for mid-level exception

Lonnie Walker in NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs

Oct 26, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV (1) reacts after scoring a three point field goal in the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers’ main tool for signing an outside free agent: the $6,479,000 taxpayer mid-level exception.

It’ll go to former Spurs shooting guard Lonnie Walker.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Walker is represented by Klutch Sports – the agency that represents LeBron James and Anthony Davis and therefore has a hold in the Lakers’ operations.

San Antonio – the team that knows Walker best – rescinded his $6,311,564 qualifying offer. Maybe that ought to say something.

Granted, the Spurs are fully embracing rebuilding and drafted shooting guards Devin Vassell, Josh Primo, Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley the last few years. If not wanting to match an offer to keep him, anyway, San Antonio might have just done Walker a favor by letting him become an unrestricted free agent.

But teams typically extend that type of favor only to players deemed marginal.

Walker has the size and athleticism to succeed in the NBA. He has shown flashes of doing it already. But the 23-year-old is far less polished than ideal for a team that should be urgently trying to win another championship before 37-year-old LeBron exits his prime.

The Lakers also added depth with a few minimum signings: Juan Toscano-Anderson (another Klutch client), Damian Jones and Troy Brown.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:


Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Toscano-Anderson brings athleticism to the wing, though it’s telling the Warriors didn’t include him in their playoff rotation en route to winning the championship. It’s tough to find minimum-salary players capable of playing postseason minutes for a contender, but that’s the Lakers’ challenge after pouring so many of their resources into acquiring Russell Westbrook last year.

Jones played pretty well in a brief 2021 stint with the Lakers. He could see a role at center, allowing Davis to spend more time at power forward.

The No. 15 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Brown has generously looked like fringe rotation player with the Wizards and Bulls.