5 Former Lakers Still Unemployed After Free Agency Week 1

Now that the first week of NBA free agency is in the books, here's a look at five former Los Angeles Lakers players who are still looking for a job.
Talen Horton-Tucker is one of five Lakers who's still unemployed.
Talen Horton-Tucker is one of five Lakers who's still unemployed. / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Lonnie Walker IV, SG/PG

To improve the backcourt, the Lakers signed Lonnie Walker IV to a one-year, $6.5 million contract ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season.

At first, it looked like adding the former 2018 first-rounder was going to be the steal of free agency. In his first 32 games in a Lakers jersey, Walker averaged 14.7 points on 45.5 FG%, 2.1 threes on 38.4 3P%, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 0.8 steals. He also had 19 performances of 15 or more points during that stretch, solidifying himself as one of L.A.'s most important players.

Unfortunately, Walker missed the next 14 games with a knee injury and wasn't the same when he returned. The likes of Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, and D'Angelo Russell being acquired ahead of the 2023 trade deadline saw Walker's opportunities and production decrease, resulting in his averaging 7.7 points while shooting 43.1% from the floor and 32.5% from deep in the final 24 regular-season contests.

The Lakers reaching that year's Western Conference Finals also wasn't good enough to motivate Walker to turn things around. Although his production improved compared to the end of the regular season, he only played 13.8 minutes per night across 13 postseason games and finished all but three of those outings with single-digit point totals.

Walker played well with the Brooklyn Nets in 2023-24, however, he was used exclusively in a bench role. It'll be interesting to see if another team views him as being capable of more or if he's destined to be a bench player for the rest of his career.

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