The Clippers and veteran guard Lou Williams have recently engaged in discussions about a possible extension, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). According to Charania, no deal as imminent, with both sides evaluating their positions.
Williams is one of several veteran players around the NBA who will remain eligible for a contract extension all the way up until June 30. However, his ability to cash in would be somewhat limited if he struck a deal with the Clippers before reaching the open market.
NBA rules limit the raise a player can receive in the first year of an extension to 120% of the player’s previous salary or 120% of the estimated average salary. Because Williams is earning just $7MM this season, his max extension would be worth approximately $42MM over four years — that would be the same deal as the ones signed by Josh Richardson of the Heat and Norman Powell of the Raptors in the fall.
Given Williams’ age (31) and career track record, he may not see an offer better than that on the open market, but his stock is certainly on the rise this season. In 39 games for the Clippers, the former second-round pick is averaging a career-best 22.9 PPG to go along with 4.9 APG and a .450/.412/.907 shooting line. He’s coming off a 50-point explosion against the Warriors on Wednesday night.
Should the Clippers decide to become sellers before next month’s trade deadline, Williams would be a tantalizing target for playoff teams in need of scoring help. Still, the Clips themselves are currently only a game out of the No. 8 seed in the West, so it’s not as if they’re throwing in the towel yet. If L.A. keeps Williams and attempts to push for a postseason spot, it will be interesting to see if the two sides continue to discuss an extension into the spring, or if Lou-Will opts to try his luck in free agency.
For what it’s worth, a trade would likely eliminate the possibility of an extension for Williams, since his new team would be limited to offering about $15MM over two years.