NBA

Spurs agree to buyout with Danilo Gallinari, make Lonnie Walker IV an unrestricted free agent

By Sports Desk June 30, 2022

The San Antonio Spurs appear committed to their rebuild after it was announced they plan to waive newly acquired forward Danilo Gallinari and withdraw their qualifying offer for Lonnie Walker IV.

Gallinari was brought over to the Spurs in this week's blockbuster trade, which sent Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks for Gallinari and three first-round draft picks.

The move to trade Murray – their 25-year-old point guard who was named an All-Star for the first time in 2022 – indicated a shift towards the future and a commitment to not being competitive for at least a season or two in order to maximise their draft equity.

Gallinari, at 33 years old, does not fit in with the Spurs' timeline and may not have had enough value to command any draft picks back as a trade chip, so the team have instead opted to buy out his contract – which had one more season and $21.5million remaining.

The move makes Gallinari an unrestricted free agent, meaning he can come to an agreement with any team who have cap space.

Walker, who was a first-round pick by the Spurs in 2018, averaged a career-high in points (12.2) and assists (2.2) this past season, but with plenty of young guard options remaining on the roster, San Antonio opted to withdraw their qualifying offer.

The qualifying offer meant Walker was a restricted free agent, giving the Spurs the option to match any offer tendered to him, which also restricts how many teams view it as a chase worth their time, as the expectation is often that the team will match them.

By withdrawing their qualifying offer, Walker is now an unrestricted free agent, able to choose his own path forward.

Walker is still only 23, so to allow him to walk indicates that he had no trade value at all and that the organisation have decided he is not part of their plans as they prepare for a couple of years near the bottom of the Western Conference.

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