The San Antonio Spurs have plenty of questions to answer this offseason. The most important one: How will the front office assure this team can make it back to the postseason as soon as possible?
The NBA Draft and free agency period will be crucial in upgrading a roster that's fallen short two years in a row, but the Spurs also must decide what to do with their own pending free agents as well. While a decision on DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills must be made in the next few months, they also need to consider if and when they'll be offering an extension to Lonnie Walker.
The 22-year-old is entering the final year of his 4-year, $12.4 million contract, meaning he'll become a restricted free agent next summer if the Spurs opt to not extend him before the start of next season.
With an average annual salary of $3.1 million in his time in San Antonio, Walker has undoubtedly become another fantastic bargain for the Spurs given what he's brought to the team in recent years.
Last season, Walker averaged career highs in points (11.2), rebounds (2.6), and assists (1.7) in 25.4 minutes per game.
Assuming Lonnie keeps improving as he has been every year, he'll certainly draw interest from several teams after next season. His 3-point shooting, athleticism, improved court vision, and finishing are all hugely important in the modern NBA.
There are two big questions the Spurs need to address in this situation. First, will they offer their rising shooting guard an extension to make sure he can't be wooed elsewhere? Secondly, what should such an extension look like that would be fair and beneficial for both sides? Let's address question one first.