The NBA trade deadline is just over one week away, which means it’s time for the NBA to get crazy. Or, in the Los Angeles Lakers’ case, predictable. An opposing general manager confirmed to Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy that the Lakers have shopped Lou Williams heading into the Feb. 23 deadline.
Kennedy takes things a step further and even says the Lakers “seem likely” to move him before the smoke settles.
Williams has been one of the brightest spots of the Lakers’ season, providing a bench scoring presence that keeps the entire team alive in comeback situations they have no business being in. Despite Williams’ individual impact, it’s not translating into team-wide success, and a contender looking for immediate scoring help in the backcourt could and should be interested in bringing him into the fold.
It doesn’t hurt that Williams is only making $7 million annually through the ‘17-18 season, making him an incredibly palatable contract to take on. Whether the Lakers can find a trade that makes sense to them before the deadline passes is the big question.
Keeping Williams isn’t the worst-case scenario for the Lakers, but his presence on the team doesn’t align with the rest of the roster. His veteran scoring talents are useful in the short-term, but long-term there’s no place for that with the nucleus under Luke Walton. It would also clear the combo-guard role entirely for Jordan Clarkson.
Williams could be a solid piece to toss into any larger trade packages, and making a move on him early in the deadline countdown would take away some of their asset-based flexibility. Some of these calls they are reportedly taking could be simply exploratory, to feel out how hard it would be to move him in an isolated deal.
Reports indicate the Lakers are beginning to make their trade deadline rounds, but how serious that process is remains to be seen.