Despite the odds against him, Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams has had one of the best seasons in the league so far this season.
Williams, 31, recently won Western Conference Player of the Week and has reportedly spoken to the team about a potential contract extension. He spoke candidly about his desire to remain in Los Angeles (via Clutch Points):
“Honestly, I would hope not. I’m putting my heart and soul into this basketball team with all the injuries that we’ve had and for us to still have an opportunity to be competitive. I would like to find a home here. I’m starting to bond with these guys. So hopefully this is where I am at the end of the year.”
Even though we have linked the 31-year-old to a potential playoff team in recent trade rumors, a contract extension would negate the possibility of him getting shipped off for future value.
While some speculated the team was ready to trade DeAndre Jordan, the latest folks are hearing indicates they “do not want to tank” despite the injury troubles their roster has faced.
After scoring a career-high 50 points against the Warriors, however, Williams is enjoying a hot streak and his overall value is likely at an all-time high.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks believes the Clippers will wait until after the trade deadline to offer him an extension, which implies they will listen to feelers from other teams around the league.
Perhaps the front office realizes they are not contending for a title and would rather not offer that money to someone who has already been in the league for a dozen years.
Regardless, the most that Los Angeles can offer him is an average annual value of $10.5 million over four years. If he were traded, his maximum extension would be worth just $7.3 million each for two seasons.
While neither of these contract figures compares well to the contract signed by JJ Redick, his one-year deal of $23 million was an unusual circumstance because Philadelphia had so much cap space. This offseason, most teams will not have tremendous money to spend in a relatively dry market.
Marks suggests something similar to what Redick has with the Sixers is in the realm of possibility. But if Williams were to leave the Clippers, it would be his fourth team in as many seasons. Perhaps the NBA veteran is looking for more stability at this point in his career.
He currently leads all players in one-on-one scoring (1.30 PPP) as a constant threat in isolation-based offenses. He is the second-most efficient playmaker on dribble handoffs among those with high-volume opportunities and ranks Top 5 in total points scored as a pick-and-roll ballhandler.
His free-throw percentage is Top 5 among those who get to the line often and he is phenomenal on above the break three-pointers. His overall accuracy on non-corner attempts (45.1 percent) is the best in the league among those with at least 120 attempts.
The production he has provided shows he and his agent will have a strong case to make during this negotiation period. While it may not be during the season, Williams will eventually be getting paid big money despite his age.