Report: At least one team has offered a first rounder for Lou Williams

Update: According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the Charlotte Hornets are “aggressively pursuing” Lou Williams. Williams seems to be the league-favorite to be dealt.

The original story is as follows:

Despite today’s upheaval in the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office, shooting guard Lou Williams is still a likely candidate to be dealt before Thursday’s midseason trade deadline. Williams has arguably been the best bench player in the league this season, averaging a career-high 18.6 points per game in his second season in purple and gold.

New Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson said on Spectrum Sportsnet earlier today that he was already receiving several trade calls about the sixth man of the year candidate:

It’s not too surprising that Johnson’s already fielding such requests just hours into his new job. Three playoff contenders have been linked to Williams in trade rumors: The Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz, and Indiana Pacers. All three could desperately use a reliable bench scorer of Willams’ caliber. At least one of them has offered a first-round pick in the 2017 draft for his services, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:

The Pacers are also a likely destination for Williams, as Shelburne reported earlier that the team is dangling its first rounder as it desperately looks for help around superstar Paul George. Regardless of where Williams ends up, it’s still incredibly likely that he won’t still be in Los Angeles on Friday morning. As for other trades, Shelburne’s ESPN colleague Marc Stein tweeted that dealing Williams is likely the only trade the team will pursue between now and Thursday’s deadline:

Whenever a deal does get done, it’s not unfair to wonder if Lakers owner Jeanie Buss chose to hire Magic now as opposed to after the deadline so the Lakers legend can get his feet wet as an NBA executive by seeing through one of the most trade scenarios in the league to its conclusion.

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