Despite being extension eligible, Walker will enter the season in the final year of the $48 million deal he signed in October 2014. An extension would net the guard only a four-year, $65 million contract, so Walker assuredly will play out the season on an expiring contract.
Keep an eye on Kevin Love. As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported, Cleveland is interested in keeping Love even if LeBron James departs. Love enters 2018-19 technically on an expiring contract because of his $25.6 million player option for 2019-20.
The Cavaliers can take a similar approach to what the Spurs did with LaMarcus Aldridge last offseason when they extended the All-Star for an extra two seasons with the last year partially guaranteed.
Both players will be super max eligible next year if they earn All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) or MVP honors, but Golden State could sign only one of them to such a deal because Steph Curry is already on the designated veteran player extension (DVPE).
Herring: You’d obviously want to give up as little as possible. But if the Lakers are looking to maximize the championship window, and the Spurs know how badly L.A. needs Leonard in its lineup, there’s a pretty good chance L.A. is going to end up parting ways with a combination of two or three solid young players (Kuzma, Ingram, Josh Hart) and a pick or two. It’s hard to argue it shouldn’t, given that most people would consider Leonard a top-five talent when healthy. In the end, you’re merely hoping Ingram or anyone else can become that good someday.
MacMullan: They should do whatever it takes to get him. Now. ASAP. It will likely cost them draft picks and great young talent (Ingram, Kuzma, Hart?), and in the short term, it will leave them with a roster short on depth and clarity. But just consider the mayhem LeBron and Kawhi could create against that Warriors lineup — on both ends of the floor.