When it came to potential free agents the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to retain, the top of the list was undoubtedly guard Malik Monk. There seemed to be mutual interest between both sides, but with the Lakers only having the taxpayer mid-level exception available to offer, Monk would almost certainly have more lucrative offers in free agency.
Monk had spoken about the possibility of taking less money to remain in L.A., but ultimately the money was too much to pass up. Monk agreed to a two-year, $19 million deal with the Sacramento Kings, ending his stint with the Lakers after just one season.
But it wasn’t for lack of effort from the Lakers. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers did offer their taxpayer exception to Monk, who turned it down to join Sacramento, forcing the Lakers to turn their attention elsewhere:
L.A. initially offered Malik Monk the taxpayer midlevel exception before turning its attention to Walker after Monk agreed to the full midlevel exception on a two-year, $19 million deal with the Kings, sources told ESPN.
With Monk going elsewhere, the Lakers moved on to Lonnie Walker IV, a former first-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs who brings some of the same things to the table as Monk did as a potential explosive scorer off the bench who can get hot at any moment.
Monk had a career year with the Lakers last season, averaging 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists on 47.3% shooting and 39.1% from 3-point range. Walker wasn’t far off from those numbers himself 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists, though his efficiency was not as good as Monk’s shooting just 40.7% from the field and 31.4% from deep. It should be noted, however, that Walker shot at least 35.5% from deep in each of his first three seasons.
It is unfortunate that the Lakers were unable to retain Monk, but it is hard to pass up that level of money. For their part, the Lakers turned to someone capable of playing a similar role as Walker is used to coming off the bench and had 15 games of 20 or more points last season. He will now have the same opportunity as Monk did last season to put the rest of the league on notice as to just how good he is.
Lakers agree to minimum deal with uan Toscano-Anderson
Aside from the exception that was given to Walker, the Lakers only had minimum contracts to offer and the team has agreed to a deal with some intriguing names. Chief among them is versatile forward and defensive specialist Juan Toscano-Anderson, who won a championship last season with the Golden State Warriors.
Though his numbers don’t jump off the board, Toscano-Anderson is an excellent defender who is capable of guarding big wings that the Lakers have struggled with in previous seasons. If he is able to improve his three-point shooting to a respectable level, he could become one of the team’s most important signings this offseason.
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