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Spurs Ex Lonnie Walker IV Gives Heartfelt Goodbye to San Antonio

Lonnie Walker IV signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in NBA free agency after the San Antonio Spurs moved on.

The San Antonio Spurs underwent no shortage of notable changes during the offseason. Among the casualties was Lonnie Walker IV, who had his qualifying offer rescinded in free agency, allowing him to hit the market unrestricted. 

After the Spurs had used the 20th and 25th overall picks in the 2022 NBA Draft on guard talent, there was less incentive to bring back Walker. It became clearer that a new beginning was in Walker's future after All-Star guard Dejounte Murray was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for a haul of future draft capital.

Walker ended up signing with the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year deal for $6.5 million — the team's full taxpayer mid-level exception. He will now look to showcase his value playing alongside superstars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook. 

In a recent Twitter post, Walker stated how he has spent his final hours living in San Antonio, and that's "crazy" to think his time there has come to an end. He explained his appreciation and love for the Spurs fanbase and San Antonio community. 

Walker had played for the Spurs for each of his four professional seasons since being selected 18th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. In his final campaign, he appeared in 70 games with averages of 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, but shot just 31.4 percent from beyond the arc. 

“First of all with Coach Pop, it’s always been about professionalism,” Walker said.

“Staying in the gym, and not making the game too complex, not too complicated. With the Spurs we lived by three things: .5 as far as catch-and-shoot, drive, or pass, being as decisive as you can so transitioning on to the Lakers I kinda carry on those same models as far as professionalism, staying in the gym, and being decisive.

“Ready to shoot, ready to pass, or ready to go for a layup.”

The declined perimeter shooting execution that Walker experienced last season was strongly influenced by his execution on pull-up jumpers. He shot just 22-84 (26.2 percent) on pull-up 3s compared to 89-268 (33.2 percent) on catch-and-shoot 3s. 

Walker will need to have his catch-and-shoot efficiency on-point playing next to multiple superstars who thrive at creating perimeter shot attempts for their teammates. If he can do that, he could develop into being a key component of the Lakers' supporting cast on a new contract. 

You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.

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