Despite entering the 2019-20 NBA season as the heavy favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the Los Angeles Clippers are still not safe from being mentioned in trade rumors. The Clippers may currently own the third-best record in the Western Conference, but some people think that they still need to upgrade their current roster in order to have a better chance of beating their Staples Center co-tenant, the Los Angeles Lakers, in a best-of-seven series. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Clippers could use Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams as the main trade chip to acquire a “quality two-way contributor” before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
In his recent article, Kevin Pelton of ESPN discussed Williams and his impact on the Clippers in the 2019-20 NBA season. When it comes to his performance on the offensive end of the floor, most people will agree that Williams is one of the best bench scorers in the NBA. This season, the 33-year-old shooting guard is averaging 19.7 points and 6.2 assists while shooting 43.0 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc.
However, despite being a very reliable scoring option, Williams isn’t exerting the same effort on the opposite end of the floor. Pelton believes that Williams’ defensive efficiency makes him expendable on the Clippers’ roster. If the Clippers want to improve their team, Pelton suggested that they could explore including Williams in the trade package to get a “quality two-way contributor” on the trade market.
“Williams probably has more trade value than the first-round pick the Clippers have to offer,” Pelton wrote, as quoted by Heavy. “But finding a workable trade probably requires involving a third team since those who need Williams’ skills probably don’t have the kind of quality two-way contributors the Clippers would want in return.”
Though they are currently finding ways to address the issues on their roster, a source who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy revealed that the Clippers are yet to make Williams officially available on the trading block. However, Deveney thinks that there’s no guarantee that Williams is safe from being moved before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
“The Clippers have not been shopping Williams, according to league sources but with three weeks till the trade deadline, it’s Williams could yet attract interest. The Clippers have been adept at keeping their transactions close to the vest so Williams’ absence from the rumor mill does not necessarily mean the Clippers have not had hushed conversations about him.”
Once he becomes available on the trade market, several NBA teams will surely express interest in adding Williams to their roster. However, as Pelton noted, in order to get what they want in exchange for Williams, the Clippers will likely need to engage in a three-team deal. Some of the potential trade targets for the Clippers in the 2019-20 NBA season include Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder of the Memphis Grizzlies, Marcus Morris of the New York Knicks, and Markieff Morris of the Detroit Pistons.