The Lakers may not have gotten many big things right during the offseason (glaring at Russell Westbrook’s salary still on the Lakers' cap sheet). But the moves they have nailed in recent seasons have been finding the underutilized wings that have flourished in bigger roles.
Last season, Malik Monk was as big of a fan favorite as the Lakers have had among role players in years. After watching him leave for a deserved payday this past summer, Lonnie Walker IV stepped into his big shoes and has done nothing but impress.
However, he’s been one of the only bright spots on a team full of disappointment so far. Because of that — and because of the nature of playing for the Lakers — the trade rumors have been endless. While Walker hasn’t been in hardly any of those rumors, there is an effect it has on the group as a whole.
“You have to realize you can only control what you can control. Everything else is in God’s hands. I’m a ballplayer. I’m not here to write about the news. I’m not a GM. I play ball...I come here, I do my work, I go home, I come back later on tonight and get some more shots. I’m just focused on basketball so anything that’s outside of basketball and whatnot, that’s outside of my responsibility and out of my control nor should I let it reflect or deflect onto myself. I try my best to not read into all of it and get into all of that extra stuff because that’s unnecessary energy you put on yourself.”
To a certain extent, being on the Lakers means a certain level of constant trade discussion, even when things are going well. It’s a byproduct of playing in a larger market and for a franchise always seeking titles.
The current Lakers, though? This is a team engulfed in trade rumors. The season feels like it’s running on some sort of autopilot until a trade of Westbrook is made.
It takes a player with a certain kind of mentality to be able to block out those rumors. Walker has proven to be that type of player, and while so many others around him may be struggling this season, it’s been a joy to watch him flourish early in the year.