Before the February trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to move some of their veterans to focus on the development of their young players. Lou Williams, one of the players who was traded, had an idea why he was sent to the Houston Rockets.
“It’s because fans don’t know,” Williams said on “Timeout with Taylor.” “It don’t make sense. (for players to tank). That’s probably what got me traded. That Tweet probably did it to me, looking back, in hind site. It’s an interesting dynamic. It’s like thin ice because, as a competitor, you want somebody to come in that’s gone help take it to the next level, but then it’s like, ‘You play my position though’!”
Lou Williams refused to tank
In the final games of the 2016-17 NBA season, the Lakers decided to tank in order to strengthen their chance of keeping their 2017 first-round pick and add another talented player. They shut down veterans Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng, and Nick Young to give their young players more playing time. They also traded Marcelo Huertas and Lou Williams to the Rockets.
Before he was moved, Williams expressed his strong opposition to the idea of tanking. The 30-year-old guard believes there’s no player in the NBA playing for a draft pick. He thinks all of them play on the court to win games.
The thing about draft picks fans forget. That's somebody's job he'll take. Ain't nobody playing for a pick lol. Trying get W's https://t.co/Qun6TQ8uB7
— Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) February 11, 2017
After his controversial tweet, various trade rumors swirled around Williams until the Lakers officially sent him to Houston. The deal turned out to be beneficial for Williams since he ended up playing for a strong playoff contender. The Rockets finished as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and reached the second round of the playoffs.
Did the Lakers make the right decision to trade Lou Williams?
Lou Williams was undeniably a huge loss for the Lakers since he’s their leading scorer in the 2016-17 NBA season. However, his departure gave D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson more opportunity to improve their game. With the potential arrival of Lonzo Ball in Los Angeles, it will not make sense to keep Williams on their team.
As of now, the Lakers are focused on the development of their young core. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson revealed that they have no plan to pursue big free agents this summer as their main target, Paul George, will be available in 2018. However, they are open for the possibility of moving some of their players if the right deal comes along.
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