Hornets Free Agent Targets: Lonnie Walker IV

Would the former Laker be a useful acquisition?
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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Age: 25 Height: 6’4 Position: SG/SF Previous Annual Salary: $2.0 Million

Scouting Report

A 5-star-recruit and McDonalds All-American coming out of high school, the son of Lonnie Walker III received offers from Arizona, Kentucky, Syracuse, and Villanova before deciding to sign at Miami. With one season of college basketball and tons of scoring upside under his belt, he declared for the 2018 NBA draft where he got picked by the San Antonio Spurs at number 18.

Walker's first year in the league mostly consisted of G-League assignments. Gregg Popovich must have liked what he saw from him during that period, as Lonnie became a regular in the Spurs rotation for the following three years. While his tenure in San Antonio went on, his shot diet changed from a midrange-heavy one to that of a prototypical shooting guard. That trend continued in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, where the 25-year-old shot a career-high 53% of his attempts from downtown.

How 2023/24 Went…

On a Nets team stacked with 3-and-D players and lacking self-creation, Walker was a bigger part of the offense than he was for the Lakers and the Spurs. Accordingly, he scored tons of unassisted buckets, got most of his triples up above the break, and took very few corner threes. The team success wasn’t there, as Brooklyn made a coaching change late in the season and missed the play-ins. But overall, it was a pretty good season for Walker individually, apart from some minor hamstring issues that forced him to miss 19 games.

Fit With the Charlotte Hornets

Although the Hornets could use some scoring punch off the bench, they should focus on signing a defensive-minded backcourt player first. Lonnie is by no means a horrible defender, but he is not a very good one either. Besides, the former Hurricane is coming fresh of a season where he was allowed to create much of the offense by himself, which he would not be able to do in Charlotte.

Overall, Walker is an interesting option for teams looking for a spark plug for their second unit. But the Hornets should target a different type of profile, if they want to balance out their guard rotation.

Projected Salary - $4-8 million per year

Albert Bottcher