The Clippers have already let the reigning Sixth Man of the Year walk (choosing to replace him with Serge Ibaka, who is seen as a better playoffs fit within the organization). Would the team also move on from their other Sixth Man of the Year winner to remake team chemistry and the roster?
The additions of Ibaka and Luke Kennard (via trade with Detroit) are just the beginning; many rival teams also expect the Clippers to trade Lou Williams in their quest to create a fresh-start environment after they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets.
Williams, who averaged 18.1 points and 5.6 assists last season and is in the final year of his contract ($8 million), would draw a lot of interest on the trade market. He works primarily in isolation or with a good pick-and-roll big man (Harrell) and can go get buckets, although his lack of defense limits how much a team can use him deeper in the postseason.
There were chemistry challenges in the Clippers locker room throughout the season. This had been a unified, lunch-pail, we-play-harder-than-you team two years before that had pushed its way up to the playoffs; when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George landed, they were seen by some as getting time off and favoritism not granted others. The Clippers never got their core guys together on the court enough. As an organization they didn’t seem to take building good habits during the regular season seriously enough (unlike the Lakers), and in the end it cost them in the playoffs.
Changing that chemistry is Tyronn Lue’s biggest goal as coach, and the front office is apparently trying to help with some personnel moves. One of them could be a trade of Williams, although in doing so the Clippers would need to find another shot creator to run the second unit (they can stagger George and Leonard more, but that alone is not the answer, the NBA is becoming a league where teams need more and more shot creators).
Just look at it as something to watch, particularly as we move closer to the trade deadline. The buzz around the league is that the Clippers are not done making moves, that they know George and Leonard can be free agents who walk away after this season, and they will do whatever it takes to give them a reason to stay. The Lakers got better this offseason, they are the team to beat in the West (and the NBA), but the Clippers remain the one roster that, on paper, is a threat to them out West.
The Clippers don’t want to let this chance slip away.