As the draft approaches and free agency follows, the focus of the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans has turned to the future. Armed with a young core, the second overall pick, and ample cap space, things look good in Laker Land as the team attempts to take a step forward after three straight seasons of hitting franchise lows in wins.
But while we look to additions to the Lakers’ roster, it may be worthwhile to also remember the players, namely the veterans, already on the team.
Perhaps most notable among those players is Lou Williams. The guard and former sixth man of the year award winner had a solid first season in Los Angeles, though he was not much of a difference-maker. His altered role as a starter and closer at the hands of Byron Scott left a poor taste in many fans’ mouths as he was seen as a detriment to D’Angelo Russell’s development.
Nevertheless, Williams had and still has value as a scorer off the bench especially on a cheap contract ($7 million per year) that will look even cheaper under a new cap this summer.
As a result, it does not appear that the Lakers are looking to move Williams this offseason:
Lakers want to keep him… saw him as glue guy for young team, its why they paid him. https://t.co/bF28IB5mcl
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) June 14, 2016
Steve Kyler’s use of the term “glue guy” is certainly interesting in this regard. After the unfortunate Snapchat incident involving Russell and Nick Young, Williams was reported to be one of the players who alienated last year’s second overall pick.
Williams is not an aesthetically pleasing player, nor is he much of a difference maker. But as a sixth man, he brings value as a pure scorer with his penchant for drawing fouls and his decent shooting.
The Lakers could potentially flip Williams and his steal of a contract for assets and they should definitely explore that idea. (Though I have a theory that most teams do not have a need or desire for ball-dominant bench scorer types as most move away from all-bench lineups). However, if they cannot get a good return for the guard, keeping him around to produce off the bench is not the worst plan in the world.