Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams has been phenomenal this season. The former Sixth Man of the Year awardee is currently averaging 23.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists for head coach Doc Rivers’ depleted side, leading the team in scoring as their starting shooting guard.
Williams, 31, had scored 30 or more points in three of the Clippers’ last four games, including a career-high 50 during a 125-106 win over the defending champions Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena last Wednesday.
Even before that incredible game against the Warriors, Williams has been considered as one of the top trade targets this season, with the Clippers rumored to be close to going into a full rebuild. Right now, the team is knocking on the playoffs door with an even 21-21 record, only a half-game behind current Western Conference eight-seeds Denver Nuggets.
Williams is expected to not run out of potential suitors should the Clippers indeed make him available before next month’s trade deadline. Below are some of the teams that are reportedly interested in trading for the 13-year veteran.
The team that drafted Williams in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft, Philadelphia is rumored to be considering to bring back the former South Gwinnett High School star to their side. Williams played the first seven seasons of his professional career with the Sixers before signing with the Atlanta Hawks during the 2012 free agency period.
The Sixers are said to be in desperate need of bench production as most of their struggles happen when starters Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and J.J. Redick are resting, said NJ Advance Media‘s Zack Rosenblatt. Williams’ presence is anticipated to take care of that need.
However, Rosenblatt noted that a potential issue for Philadelphia would be Williams’ current contract status. The 6-foot-1 guard is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
According to FanSided’s Thunderous Intentions blog, Williams could be an “intriguing wing option” for the Thunder to come off the bench as an instant scorer.
Williams would definitely star in a bench that includes Raymond Felton, Terrance Ferguson, Jerami Grant, and Patrick Patterson, especially on the offensive end.
However, the blog mentioned that Williams’ effectiveness comes with his high usage rate. With the Thunder’s “three dominant ball handlers,” namely Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony, this rate is likely to diminish a great deal.
Williams’ defensive skills are also one of the worst in the league right now as he is ranked 104th in Real Defensive Plus-Minus among 105 shooting guards.
Next to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cavaliers are arguably the most anticipated team to make a move before the deadline with several players already linked to the reigning Eastern Conference champs. DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Nerlens Noel, Wesley Matthews, and Derrick Favors have all been mentioned in Cavaliers trade rumors.
While one could notice that most of the players were bigs, the Cavs are said to be looking for a starter at the shooting guard position, which had been their lone weak spot this season, FanSided’s King James Gospel opined.
The blog said that Targeting Williams makes sense for Cleveland as he is “undoubtedly having the best year of his career,” particularly when it comes to his shooting. Williams is draining 44.9 percent of his overall field goals, shooting 41.4 percent from downtown and 90.9 percent from the charity stripe, which are both career-highs.
With the current struggles of J.R. Smith, who is currently producing a career-low in points (7.6 ppg), Williams would be a definite upgrade.