Apparently, they’re also exploring both paths with Lou Williams.
Williams – front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year – is a hot trade candidate. Earning $7 million in the final year of his contract, he could help a lot of winning teams off the bench. The Clippers have been resilient amid all their injuries, but they’re still outside playoff position. At some point, they might be better off selling.
Or locking up Williams long-term.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The largest extension Williams could sign is four years,
$37,632,000 $41,965,056 (hat tip: Jeff Siegel of The Step Back). My gut reaction: That’s not enough, even for a 31-year-old.
But I might colored by just watching him drop 50. It’s not necessarily a coincidence extension talks leaked when perception of Williams is peaking.
The non-taxpayer mid-level exception projects to be worth about $36.8 million over four years, and that might be Williams’ slot as an unrestricted free agent next summer. Teams with cap space might swing at bigger fish. So, an extension could at least be in the reasonable range.
Of course, an extension that large would take Williams off the trade market for six months – well past next month’s trade deadline. He could ink a smaller deal – up to two years, $15,067,500 – that would leave him trade-eligible. But that’s probably a non-starter. If he signs an extension, it’s because he wants to stay with the Clippers.
Should they want him long-term? It’d be costly and increase luxury-tax concerns for next season. But they’re so far down the road toward trying to win now, it’s hard to turn back.