HOOPSWORLD.COM: On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers came to terms with one of the top available free agents. Acting at first possible moment, General Manager Mitch Kupchak put in a call to Luke Walton and a deal soon followed.
On July 11 or soon thereafter, Walton is expected to sign a six-year, $30 million contract. At this point it’s not clear if he starts with a salary at $4 million and gets the standard 10.5% raises for returning free agents . . . or if he gets a flat $5 million each year.
Once the contract is signed, the particulars will become available.
While many Laker fans might take Walton for granted, this year’s crop of available players is relatively light. Vince Carter quickly agreed to return to New Jersey. LA didn’t have the cap room to offer Rashard Lewis a significant contract and the Seattle SuperSonics weren’t interested in orchestrating a sign and trade with the Lakers.
Other than Gerald Wallace (who has yet to decide on a destination), Walton was arguably the fourth best free agent on the market.
Some might like Mo Williams, Grant Hill, Andres Nocioni, Jason Kapono, Darko Milicic or Anderson Varejao more than Walton but that’s neither here nor there.
The point is the Lakers landed a top ten free agent with a reasonable contract and still have their Mid-Level Exception (MLE ~$6 mil) to spend.