The Los Angeles Clippers have a change of scenery in their locker room this season. One new addition, Lou Williams, likely won’t make it past February eighth.
The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the more interesting teams in the Western Conference this season. LA lost their backbone in Chris Paul – as he was sent in a sign and trade deal to Houston – yet brought back star power forward Blake Griffin. With some talent still on the roster, the Clippers are still a playoff caliber team.
However, without Paul, they certainly are not title contenders. Although Griffin may break out and have an MVP caliber season, the Clippers do not have enough star power. To win in the NBA, teams need to establish a massive big three or four. Everyone is trying to keep up with the Warriors and Cavaliers; the Clippers are falling behind.
Because of this, the Clippers should be hard pressed to get rid of any exchangeable assets at the deadline. Star center DeAndre Jordan is an option, as well as young guard Austin Rivers. However, the most intriguing trade chip is Lou Williams.
Williams started last season in LA with the Lakers before being traded to Houston in exchange for Corey Brewer and a draft pick. Williams was sent to the Clippers after playing 23 games for the Rockets; in which he finished behind teammate Eric Gordon in NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting.
Williams has all the makings of a great sixth man. The veteran shooting guard brings high-profile scoring and intensity off of the bench; making up for the void Jamal Crawford leaves behind. Although he is arguably more talented than Rivers, Williams will most likely see a heaping amount of minutes off of the bench.
That is perfectly fine. Los Angeles needs some depth behind its stars in the starting five and Williams is the perfect piece to add that. However, Williams does not make this team any closer to title contention. While he will help them win some games, his long-lasting impact on the Clippers it small.
The Clippers trading Williams and his small contribution is imminent. This is a no-brainer for the Clippers, especially considering his contract expires after this season.
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While Los Angeles won’t get anything extreme for Williams, they will get something that has a bigger long-lasting effect. As the season progresses new trade targets will open for the Clippers, but for now, draft picks are their best choice.
Any contending team that needs to bolster their bench will be calling LA for Williams. The Oklahoma City Thunder could use Williams scoring at the shooting guard position off the bench. Williams and his scoring would play a huge role behind the defensive-minded Andre Roberson.
The Thunder have no picks to trade in next year’s draft, however, they can send future first round picks. Young shooting guard Terrance Ferguson could possibly be an option as well.
Maybe Williams can even be sent to a team to start. A team such as the New Orleans Pelicans are immensely talented down low, but lack shooting and floor spacing in their backcourt. New Orleans could send their 2018 first round pick and two players to match the salary of Williams. Again, this is a win for half a season of production.
Overall, as good as Williams is, fans of the Los Angeles Clipper definitely should expect his departure this season. The Clippers would be much better off getting something out of half a season of production from Williams. For now, it seems to be just a matter of time.