It was reported earlier this week that the LA Clippers are believed to be open in trading their key, off-the-bench scorer, Lou Williams.
Marc Berman of the New York Times revealed the news in his column, who claimed the team’s recent transactions were somewhat of a preparation:
“The additions of [Serge] Ibaka and Luke Kennard (via trade with Detroit Pistons) are just the beginning; many rival teams also expect the Clippers to trade Lou Williams in their quest to create a fresh-start environment after they blew a 3-1 series lead to the [Denver] Nuggets.”
As you know, unlike their crosstown rivals and defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers didn’t exactly showcase flashy free agency moves. The Ibaka signing and Kennard trade were both good, but it felt like reactionary acquisitions more than anything since they lost reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell to the Lakers – for the Clipps, it’s possibly the worst team he can sign to.
The 4-yr, $64 million re-signing of Marcus Morris was also higher than expected, which, again, may have been rooted on trying to secure players.
Keep in mind that team superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can both opt out of their contracts after the 2020-21 season. That’s not the end of it too, because the Clipps have zero first-round draft picks until 2027 due to the George trade.
So, all of that considered, there’s a part where we can understand why shopping Williams is the way to go. Though already 34, he still has good value with a cheap and expiring $8M contract, so many contenders will be happy to bite. It may even help the Clippers acquire first-round picks.
Then again, the other side of the argument may have a solid point too. Let’s not forget that Williams is a three-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner, easily one of the best off-the-bench guys of his generation.
Also, a proven and veteran scorer is something that Leonard and George need, the more the better so both guys can load manage. Lou Will being a different type of weapon than those two helps as well as it helps in creating a variation on the offense.
There’s a strange uptick in his career trajectory that’s also tough to suddenly let go of – he has a higher career average in his 30s than his 20s! He’s averaging 19.6 points and 4.7 assists per game since turning 30 in 2016, and he’s maintained that pace across three teams with varying coaching and playing styles, sometimes sharing the rock with ball-dominant players. It’s a good testament to how effective and offensively sound he truly is.