The Clippers guaranteed the contract of reserve guard Derrick Walton Jr. for the rest of the season Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The move occurred ahead of a league-wide deadline for teams to either waive or keep players on nonguaranteed deals; Walton was the lone Clipper playing on such a contract. The 6-foot guard will now receive the full $1.4 million on his one-year deal, the minimum for players with one year of NBA experience.
By keeping Walton, who has averaged 2.6 points, 1.1 assists and 0.7 rebound in 19 games this season, including one start, the team’s roster remains at the maximum 15 players. Guaranteeing his deal does not preclude the Clippers from opening a roster spot later. The league’s trade deadline is Feb. 6. In such a case, however, Waltonwould still receive the full worth of his deal.
After a four-year career at Michigan, Walton went undrafted in 2017 and played 16 games with Miami the following season. He played overseas last season before joining the Clippers’ Las Vegas Summer League roster in July. He was signed to a training camp deal and quickly became well-liked in the locker room and trusted by a coaching staff whose roster is short on pure point guards. Walton then made the team as the last man on the 15-man roster in October.
“He’s been in big games in his life,” coach Doc Rivers said in December. “What I like about him is he can make shots. … The one thing he’ll do is shoot the ball, and you need guys who are capable shooters on the floor.”