The Story: Lou Williams and the Clippers have reportedly begun discussing a contract extension, per Yahoo Sports. No details have been publicized, but on SportsCenter on Wednesday night, Adrian Wojnarowski said that both Williams and DeAndre Jordan want to stay with the franchise. According to Wojnarowski, if the Clippers were to trade Williams, the front office would want a “good” first-round pick in return.
The Importance: Dealing Williams at a point in the season when contenders want to add quality bench options would, in theory, maximize the Clippers’ return. But LA will surely have pause about dealing one of their best players, especially after Williams dropped a career-high 50 points against the defending-champion Warriors on Wednesday.
Should Los Angeles decide to re-sign the former Sixth Man of the Year, he’s eligible for an in-season extension. If not, Williams will enter unrestricted free agency this summer coming off what’s shaping up to be a career season. (Basically, it’ll be a larger bill if LA waits until the end of the season to make a deal.)
The Takeaway: The Clips, at 19-21, are creeping toward a .500 record but can’t count on the durability of their starting lineup. (As of Thursday, Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, Austin Rivers, Milos Teodosic, and C.J. Williams are all surrounded by injury concerns.) With four members of LA’s backcourt sidelined, Williams’s value to the team is even greater than it was at the beginning of the season.
The front office’s choices relating to Williams will give a glimpse of its vision for the Clippers’ immediate future. Trading for a first-rounder would indicate an intention to rebuild. But recommitting to 31-year-old Williams would be more of what the franchise has done for years: double down with what it already has.