There were 11 players who signed rookie scale extensions prior to the opening-night deadline. The Spurs’ Lonnie Walker IV wasn’t one of them and that’s serving as motivation this season, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News writes.
Walker is headed to restricted free agency — provided San Antonio extends a qualifying offer — and he’s eager to prove his value within the framework of the Spurs’ system.
“I think I’m more excited, more hungry. I’m starving more than ever,” Walker said. “I’m trying to stay active offensively and defensively and do what Pop (coach Gregg Popovich) wants me to do.”
Walker is averaging 13.3 PPG off the bench heading into San Antonio’s game against the Lakers on Tuesday, though he hasn’t shot it well (39.5%). He’s also averaging 4.0 RPG and 2.3 APG. Last season in 60 games (38 starts), Walker posted averages of 11.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 1.7 APG.
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of things this offseason to be ready to play this season,” he said.
Walker is in his fourth year after getting selected No. 18 overall in the 2018 draft. Ideally, he’d like to re-sign with the Spurs.
“Absolutely. I think I’m a San Antonio, Texas, guy myself,” he said.