Could former Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams be on the move already after just one season in Los Angeles? I’m not sure. But moving the veteran guard should be something the organizations front office looks long and hard at this offseason.
During last year’s free agency period the Lakers snagged Lou for a reasonable $7 million per year for three years. With the salary cap continually rising thanks to the NBA’s new television deal Williams has a fairly team friendly contract for what he can contribute.
In all honesty, Williams did not have a bad season by any means in regards to his play. His averages, shooting percentages, and PER were on par with his recent seasons that made him one of the better scoring options off the bench in the league. With his ability to stretch the floor and get to the free throw line he could be a valuable role player for multiple teams. While his shooting percentages won’t show that he had a stellar year by any means (.408 percent from the field, .344 percent from 3), Williams had an True Shooting percentage of .584 and Free Throw Attempt rate of .612 (!!!), both of which were career-highs. In each of those categories he finished within the top 10 and actually led the league in Free Throw Attempt rate.
So why should the Lakers consider trading Lou Will? Hmm. Where should I begin?
This offseason has gotten off to a tremendous start for the franchise when they announced the hiring of Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton and they need to keep players who fit Walton’s system. Lou just flat out does not. He is somewhat of a ball stopper and in the free-flowing offense that will be put in place, it’s hard to see a reason to have him in the rotation.
Along with the potential fit problems it seemed as if Williams wasn’t the greatest locker room guy to have, especially with the way last season went. During the whole D’Angelo Russell snapchat fiasco there were multiple reports of some guys “isolating” Russell, with Williams being one of them. While Jim Buss had stated that the 29-year-old was a core piece going forward, I believe it may be a bit of banter just to build up any potential trade value.
Either way, the team should be making calls about dealing the former Sixth Man of the Year. Here are some prospective trades the Lakers could make.
1. Chicago Bulls
Bulls receive: Lou Williams
Lakers receive: Justin Holiday, Future 2nd round pick
In this trade the Lakers receive a few assets back in a deal that could benefit both teams. With Derrick Rose appearing unable to get back to his former self or even stay healthy for a full season this would give the Bulls some assurance that they’d have productivity in the backcourt alongside Jimmy Butler. The Bulls were also 26th in the league in free throw attempts per game which would only improve with Williams on the roster. In return, the Lakers would receive a future 2nd round pick, and 27-year-old guard/forward Justin Holiday.
This makes sense for LA because Holiday is a viable option as a rotational wing, he can defend well, and he is great in transition with terrific explosiveness and athleticism. Another reason Holiday would fit with the current team is that he has played under Walton in Golden State so he would be familiar with the system the rookie head coach would want to put in place. I see this trade as a win-win for both teams.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
Sixers receive: Lou Williams
Lakers receive: 2016 24th or 26th overall pick
As always, the Philadelphia 76ers have a ridiculous amount of picks in the upcoming draft. Shout-out to the process! They are always a hard team to gauge during trade talks and even more so now that they’re taking a “win now” approach under new GM Bryan Colangelo.
Williams played in Philly for his first 6 years in the league, where he was a fan favorite so the move should be received well from that standpoint. Also, with multiple late first round picks and such a young roster that is primarily full of big men, it would benefit the Sixers to add a scoring option in the backcourt.
In this exchange the Lakers would receive a late first round draft pick, giving them 3 in the upcoming draft. Workouts are underway for the purple and gold and if they fall in love with a prospect they feel may not last until their second round pick, this would give them the opportunity to grab that prospect.
3. Memphis Grizzlies
Grizzlies receive: Lou Williams
Lakers receive: Future 1st round pick
After finishing 29th in three-point shooting a year ago (ahead of only the Lakers), this trade gives Memphis a much needed boost in that category. The Grizzlies dealt with basically every player on their roster missing time last season and still ended up sneaking into the playoffs. If they retain Mike Conley who is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Williams would give them a nice scoring punch off the bench while Conley rests. With a healthy Marc Gasol and Conley next season they have a duo already in place to drive them towards the playoffs but adding another scoring option might take the team another step higher.
The Lakers would probably prefer to obtain the Grizzlies first round pick this year which sits at 20 but that might be slightly too high of an asking price so they could settle for a future first.
4. Detroit Pistons
Pistons receive: Lou Williams
Lakers receive: Jodie M33ks
Jodie Meeks has been injured far too often over his tenure with the Pistons. When they signed him they were expecting to get a three-point threat to stretch the floor off the bench but health has stepped in the way of that. Williams would be a guy to fill that role and give Detroit another punch off the bench to go along with Stanley Johnson.
Since 2014 Lakers Twitter has had a hole in its collective heart, a hole left by none other than Jodie Meeks. With his ability to shoot and willingness to move the ball, Meeks would fit right in with Luke Walton next season. Plus, you could make the argument that #MeeksBeLike is the best hashtag in all of Twitter dot com.
5. Milwaukee Bucks
Bucks receive: Lou Williams
Lakers receive: John Henson, Future 2nd round pick
This is one of the more enticing trade possibilities that I could see happening for the Lakers. Henson has a contract that increases tremendously over the next 4 years but if the team fails to land a solid piece at the center position in free agency, he could be an impactful option as the dust settles.
While Henson isn’t going to blow anyone away scoring the ball, he would compliment the Lakers core in a variety of ways such as protecting the rim (4.1 blocks per 36 min.) and being an above average pick-and-roll player. The Bucks have the 10th pick in this year’s draft, and with Greg Monroe getting off to a shaky start in Milwaukee, they are likely to target a big man to move forward which might make Henson attainable.
While the Bucks are set to play small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo at point guard next season and try cutting ties with Michael Carter-Williams, they need a shooter to be able to spot up beyond the arc to go alongside the Greek Freak. This move would also save the team a large amount of cap space in the future by moving Henson for Williams.
6. Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings
Warriors receive: Lou Williams, Marcelo “The Catalyst” Huertas
Kings receive: Nick Young, Robert Sacre
Lakers receive: Steph Curry, Demarcus Cousins
Jerry West and Vlade Divac are still 100% undercover Lakers. This basically proves that.
All statistics provided by Basketball Reference.