The Story: Clippers guard Lou Williams agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract extension, according to Yahoo Sports. The third year has a $1.5 million partial guarantee.
The Importance: The 31-year-old is vacating the display-case window after weeks of trade rumors and a month of contract negotiations.
Sent to the Clippers last summer as a piece in the Chris Paul blockbuster, Williams is in the midst of the best season of his career. He is averaging career highs in points per game (23.3), assists (5.3), and 3-point shooting (38 percent).
The former Sixth Man of the Year is the glue and gusto for this season’s Clippers, filling in various roles for injured teammates. Williams’s high performance — which includes 15 30-point games and a 50-pointer against the Warriors — made him an appealing asset to deal.
The Takeaway: Williams was set to enter unrestricted free agency this summer. But despite a career year, it’s easy to see why the guard would rather have long-term security than a chance to explore the market, especially during this loaded offseason.
The deal also brings some stability to the Clippers, who are still reshuffling their talent before Thursday’s trade deadline. The team dealt Blake Griffin last week, and reports indicate that DeAndre Jordan could also be gone soon. Williams hasn’t been with the franchise for a fraction of the time that Griffin was or DAJ has been, but he might have to sub in as the temporary face of the franchise. (It’s either him, or Austin Rivers.)
This story has been updated after publication to reflect new reporting about the nature of Williams’s deal.