After trading Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons last week, rumors abound that the Los Angeles Clippers are also looking to deal their two other stars, DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams, before this Thursday’s trade deadline. While both players have attracted the interest of several squads, analysts believe that Williams is more likely to be shipped out of L.A. than Jordan.
The Clippers’ high asking price for the former Texas A&M standout is the main reason why Jordan would most likely stay, Hoops Habit’s Gil Alcaraz IV said. Jordan was heavily-linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers in recent weeks, but the Cavs are unwilling to part ways with the 2018 Brooklyn pick to complete a deal.
Bleacher Report’s Scott Polacek reported that the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, and Milwaukee Bucks have also expressed interest in Jordan. Citing ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Polacek said that that “Clippers are still open for business,” although talks have reportedly not moved forward between the team and any of the said suitors.
This leaves Williams as the odds-on favorite to move out of La La Land next.
Williams, 31, is a 13-year veteran and a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner. This season, he appears to be playing much younger than his age, averaging career-highs in points (23.3) and assists (5.3) while also producing 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 32.5 minutes per game.
The former second-round draft pick has thrived in his new role as a starter for head coach Doc Rivers, which increased his trade value even more. Williams also has his own share of rumored admirers, such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Cleveland Cavaliers, but latest team linked to him is the Boston Celtics.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Williams has emerged as one of the Celtics’ trade targets ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Stein said that Boston is looking to trade for a first-round draft pick in order to convert it into either Williams or Memphis Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans.
However, Andrew Neururer of FanSided’s Hardwood Houdini suggested that the Celtics might not have to secure a first-rounder and just go for a straight swap between Williams and Boston’s Marcus Smart.
Like Williams, Smart is also set to become a free agent this July, albeit a restricted one. Boston is said to be unwilling to take the risk of losing Smart in free agency, but getting Williams in his contract year would be a different case.
Williams gives the Celtics an elite scoring threat coming off the bench, and he will come handy in the postseason for a potential matchup with the Cavaliers. With Williams, Boston’s offense would “improve drastically,” Neururer said.
With all the internal turmoil happening in Cleveland, the Celtics’ have a chance to dethrone the Cavs as East champions and could possibly face the Golden State Warriors in this year’s Finals. Even if he becomes a half-season rental, Williams’ addition would boost head coach Brad Stevens’ team into a potential championship contender at least for the short term.