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Wizards trade options: Lou Williams is a perfect, but potentially costly fit

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Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

It’s February, which means the NBA trade deadline is right around the corner. Historically, most moves happen close to the trade deadline. Teams want to know what they have and evaluate how strong their assets are for as long as possible before making a deal. It’s no secret how it all works, the contenders try to make trades that give their team a better chance at the title, and everyone else makes trades to try to get future assets, draft picks, or cut some salary.

Every team has a number of options on the table. As Stan Van Gundy once said, “Everyone in the league is available for the right price!” With that in mind, let’s look at some players that could be available at the deadline, and what it would take for the Wizards to get them. Next up: Lou Williams.

It’s no secret that the Wizards need bench scoring, and there are few players in the league more synonymous with bench scoring than Lou Williams. This season, he’s averaging 18.5 points and 3.2 assists per game with a .602 true shooting percentage. Williams would make Washington’s bench much more formidable offensively and he’d take the pressure off the rest of the bench to create their own shots.

It’s also no secret that the Lakers are not going to make the playoffs this season. So Alex Kennedy’s report that the Lakers are shopping Williams before the deadline doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Los Angeles would be much better suited trying to get a young asset for Williams before his impending free agency next season drives down his value.

Here’s what a trade for Williams would most likely have to look like for Washington:

Wizards receive: Lou Williams

Lakers receive: Jason Smith, a first round pick from Washington

Smith is the only player the Wizards can send to the Lakers that makes sense in a one-for-one deal. The Wizards aren’t trading Porter or Morris, the Lakers would probably want the Wizards’ first round pick just to take Nicholson’s long-term deal, in addition to the compensation for Williams. That leaves Smith as the only player that fits in a trade for Williams straight-up.

The only other option would be to package two of the following three players in a deal: Trey Burke, Tomas Satoransky, and Kelly Oubre. There are a couple ways the Wizards could spin this trade:

The cost cutter option

Wizards receive: Lou Williams

Lakers receive: Trey Burke, Tomas Satoransky, a second round pick from Washington

Los Angeles would shave $4.2 million off their books for next season, get Satoransky for the next two seasons, and get another pick for their rebuild, albeit a late one.

The pick free version

Wizards receive: Lou Williams

Lakers receive: Trey Burke, Kelly Oubre

Losing Oubre would be rough, but if Washington is really committed to using their 2017 pick (or trading it elsewhere for another piece) this deal might be enticing enough to get the Lakers to bite.


The problem with all these trades is Williams makes more than any feasible package Washington can send to Los Angeles. By acquiring Williams, the Wizards would be adding to their payroll for next season. Between that and Otto Porter’s next contract, the Wizards would almost certainly have to go into the luxury tax to keep their core together. Management would need to know whether ownership is willing to pay the tax, or else they would have to explore ways to offload salary for next season before making the deal.

Still, if that is all it takes to get Lou Williams I say do it. He is locked up for another season after this one and he would be an immediate contributor off the bench. He’d lighten the minutes load on John Wall and Bradley Beal and could fill in as a starter for them when needed.

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Posted by Bullets Forever on Thursday, January 12, 2017