The Los Angeles Clippers instigated what could be a series of blockbuster trades this season after the team dealt Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons on Monday. Many analysts believe that the Clippers are not done yet, and deals involving DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams might be forthcoming.
Williams, 31, is arguably the Clippers’ best trade asset at the moment. The 13-year veteran is playing the best season of his career, currently averaging career-highs in points (23.5) and assists (5.2), while also producing 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game in also a career-best 32.4 minutes a night for head coach Doc Rivers.
Williams has been the Clippers’ leading scorer this season, even when Griffin was still around. The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner is shooting 44.3 percent from the field and a career-high 39.0 percent from beyond the arc. Truly, his trade value is through the roof at this time.
There is one reason why teams may be hesitant to trade for him, though, and that is his impending unrestricted free agency this summer. A team may be able to acquire him this late in the season, but Williams still has the option to choose his next club in July. Still, several teams are rumored to be interested in getting the former South Gwinnett High School standout.
According to the latest trade speculations, the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat have emerged as potential trade partners for the Clippers, if the team does decide to give up Williams.
NJ Advance Media’s Zack Rosenblatt reported that the Sixers are in “pursuit of scorers and shooters” as the trade deadline approaches. Williams, who played his first seven seasons in the league in Philadelphia, is said to be one of their options.
Rosenblatt noted that a future first-round draft pick could be what the Clippers would require in a trade for Williams. However, the Sixers might insist to include veteran point guard Jerryd Bayless in the deal. Philly is reportedly intending to get rid of Bayless’ $8.5 million cap space hit for next season.
Meanwhile, Sir Charles In Charge is speculating that the Heat could also be interested in Williams. The blog said that Heat president Pat Riley may only be checking if the club could afford to get the player and that it could be “nothing more than just doing their due diligence.”
One problem for Miami in trying to obtain Williams is that the team has no first-round selections to trade. The Clippers would also require one or two young players to be included in a swap, and the Heat are not expected to relinquish either Justise Winslow or Bam Adebayo in any deals at the moment.