Mo Williams brought credibility to the Trail Blazers’ bench last season, a historically horrible outfit the year before.
More importantly, Williams bonded with franchise player Damian Lillard. It reached the point Lillard listed Williams first among his desired free agent targets.
It really seemed Portland would re-sign Williams this summer.
Instead, the Trail Blazers used the mid-level exception – their primary means for paying Williams – on Chris Kaman and added Steve Blake to fill Williams’ role in the rotation. Then, Williams signed with the Timberwolves
From the outside, it was a chicken-or-egg scenario. Did the Trail Blazers sign Kaman and Blake because they saw that pairing as an upgrade over Williams? Or did they sign those two because they knew they were going to lose Williams anyway?
Williams shares his version of events:
Lillard didn’t seem fond of how it went down:
I’m sure Lillard wishes Williams, his friend, were still part of the team. But if Kaman and Blake help the Trail Blazers win, Lillard will get over it. He can see Williams a few times per season and in the summer.
That’s how the business works.
But if Williams thrives in Minnesota while Kaman and Blake flop, the Trail Blazers might have aggravated their biggest star the summer before he’s eligible to sign an extension. Throw him a max offer, and he’d get over it. But if you try to haggle, little incidents like this could come up.
That’s also how the business works.