The Wizards need bench help in the most desperate way, and Lou Williams is the best sixth-man available. The need and the fit are obvious. The question is: Can the Wizards and Lakers agree on a fair value for Williams?
Zach Lowe tackled the question as part of a piece for ESPN on Monday:
Several reports have linked the Wiz to Lou Williams, and Washington has indeed explored trading a protected first-round pick for the king of the 2-for-1. That makes me a little queasy, despite Williams' monster season and an affordable $7 million contract that runs through 2017-18 -- big for a capped-out team with limited means to boost the roster in free agency.
Williams' game doesn't hold up as well in the playoffs, when referees don't buy his flailing and opponents pick at his defense over and over. He doesn't move the needle enough toward Cleveland territory to justify sending out a precious chance at nabbing a cheap young player. Washington could also use the midlevel exception -- a real tool again! -- to land a decent backup this summer, though that might rocket them into the luxury tax once they re-sign Porter.
Wait out the Lakers, and Washington might be able to get Williams for a couple of second-rounders.
Lowe brings up good points about Williams’ value and why the Wizards shouldn’t necessarily rush into shipping their first round pick to the Lakers. The only issue is the Wizards’ second round pick will likely be in the low-to-mid 50’s, so if a team with higher second round pick makes a similar offer, they would have the upper hand.
Thankfully for the Wizards, most of the teams ahead of Washington in the second round are either rebuilding, or contenders who are already set at Williams’ position. The biggest threats would likely be the Hornets and mmmmaybe the Knicks if they still think they can make a playoff push.
UPDATE: The Jazz may also have interest in Lou Williams, according to Ian Begley of ESPN. Utah has four picks in this year’s draft. They have their own first and second picks, plus Golden State’s first round pick and Detroit’s second round pick. They could certainly make a competitive offer using their second rounders, or they could dangle the Golden State pick to beat out an offer of two second rounders by Washington.
If any of those teams is willing to offer this year’s second rounder and another asset, Washington would have to offer that protected first round pick to get the deal done. Considering how much help the Wizards need, Williams would still likely be worth offering the first round pick. That said, it isn’t crazy for Washington to wait things out and see if they can get him at a lower price, especially now that there are more ways to improve the bench in the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.
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