I suppose I had to see it for myself. As they say, seeing is believing.
I didn’t want to believe the rumors circulating that Lonnie Walker had lost a step or two. In fact, I have been on Walker’s bandwagon since his days balling at the U down in Coral Gables. I was ecstatic when the San Antonio Spurs drafted him.
It wasn't only because his hair on draft night was so pointed that the draft hat just sat on his head like a perfect king’s crown. I saw unlimited potential. A guy the Silver and Black could develop. This guy has, in my humble opinion, one of the smoothest mid-range jumpers you will ever see.
Or, shall we say, had.
Damn you, Lonnie, for making me write these three words. Trade. Him. Now.
I was in the AT&T Center ten rows up from the Spurs' bench last month during their victory over the Washington Wizards and soon found myself in utter disbelief as I watched a Lonnie Walker performance that included turnovers, missed layups, and airballs.
This was all in the span of only a few minutes, or at least it seemed. There was no chemistry with the other players, whereas before, there was plenty. A once-promising NBA star on the rise had been replaced by what some might refer to as a G Leaguer.
That confidence and swagger number one wore on his sleeve was nonexistent. A young hooper from Miami drafted by the Spurs was nowhere to be seen.
That game against the Wizards happened some time ago, and there is reasoning for the time lapse in writing this article. I thought Lonnie might turn a corner, break out of this funk if you will. So, I allowed a grace period for Walker to prove that trading him would be a mistake, and all this "getting rid of Lonnie" chatter was all for naught.
Two days later, it got worse.
Tack on another couple of days after that, and that chatter escalated into a yell from even the most loyal Spurs Fans, which almost certainly left Walker's time with the Spurs dead in the water.
Lonnie Walker Temporarily Renews Hope
Then, something magical happened. Throughout the holiday season, those rumblings about Walker came to a screeching halt. This was in large part due to Lonnie seemingly returning to his old self in December, which, in turn, renewed fans' hope that his time in San Antonio was far from over.
His production went back up, and highlight reels once again featured Sky Walker throwing down dunks and draining fade-away jumpers like he had something to prove. So, the grace period was extended as we watched Lonnie show up and show out while ringing in 2022.
2022. Ahh, a breath of fresh air. A new year, a clean slate. Hopes renewed through Lonnie Walker's Christmas Miracles on the hardwood.
Then as soon as it seemed Lonnie was back, he wasn’t. His game disappeared, gone in the blink of an eye. The resurgence of Lonnie Walker came and went with the holiday season. Walker's game in December was like a magnificent Christmas Tree when first decorated. In January, it resembles a dead pinewood waiting for bulk pickup on Commerce street.
Grace period over folks.
Lonnie's Inconsistency Returns Again
Lonnie Walker went 1-for-9 from the field Wednesday against the Grizzles in 23 minutes of action. He did hit a half-court shot -- after the buzzer sounded, so it didn't count. This lone highlight is so fitting considering Walker's play of late has plummeted.
On Monday, he went 1-of-6 pouring in a whopping four points against the Suns. Back on January 12th, a sizzling 3-11 while notching over 24 minutes of playing time in a loss to division rival Houston. As I often say, the data does not lie. The same goes for these telling numbers.
Lonnie Walker is not doing himself any favors, as it seems he is playing himself out of a role in San Antonio. Couple the recent performances with his production early on this season and it is difficult to make an argument on why San Antonio should keep Walker on their ever-changing roster. Walker has left the franchise and its fans no choice. He must go, and it must be now.
With that said, who could the Spurs target for a trade? Would the franchise even be willing to consider giving up multiple players in a package with Walker? I think that answer is no based on the single fact that the risk of return appears to just simply be too high.
Further, one must consider that a player-for-player trade involving Lonnie is simply not going to happen, so that’s likely off the table as well. Perhaps the Spurs front office do something radical like send him to Austin for a stint in the G League in hopes that they can salvage their once high-profile draft pick. Or they do nothing and carry on as is, which is the last thing that should happen.
With all of that on the table, the question still is quite simple. What do the San Antonio Spurs do with Lonnie Walker? Because doing nothing is no longer an option.
I do not have a prediction on which way this thing pans out, nor do I have a hot take suggestion for a trade scenario. The point of this article is for one thing and one thing only, and that is to stress the urgency and importance of getting rid of Lonnie Walker now to the fans.
As a fanbase, San Antonio is family-centric. They do not want to see players fail or say goodbye unless it is necessary for the betterment of the group. And as much as I hate to say it, shipping Lonnie out of the 210 must be done.
From a fan’s perspective, Spurs nation is not used to this type of stuff, and in a season unlike any other, this is yet another new and uncomfortable situation that has presented itself in South Texas.