Sixers guard Lou Williams will exercise his early termination option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer, tweets John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He'll turn down the $5.35MM he was scheduled to make in the final year of his contract.
Williams and agent Leon Rose had spoken with the team about an extension before the season, but decided to end those talks with the idea of revisting them at season's end. Williams spoke highly of Philadelphia to Dennis Deitch of The Times Herald last month, and while he may still return to the Sixers, the team will likely have to commit to a long-term deal to make that happen.
Williams, 25, has provided scoring punch off the bench, averaging a career-high 14.9 PPG this season. He made the team as a second-round draft pick out of high school in 2005, and has steadily become one of the league's most reliable sixth men. Still, he's struggled in April, averaging just 12.9 PPG this month as the team has gone 3-7. A tweener guard at 6'2", 175 pounds, he's likely best suited to continuing to come off the bench wherever he winds up.
The move would give the Sixers added flexibility this summer as they look to re-sign center Spencer Hawes and seek a proven crunch-time scorer. Elton Brand also has an early-termination option that could wipe out the $18.16MM he's due for next season, but it's unlikely he'll turn down that payday. Recent Twitter comments by Sixers CEO Adam Aron seem to indicate the team is looking to make changes in the offseason, Mitchell notes.