2:55pm: Williams’ three-year extension will be worth $8MM annually, with a $1.5MM partial guarantee on the third year, per Mark Deeks of GiveMeSport (Twitter links). The partial guarantee on that final year can increase if Williams hits certain performance incentives, says Deeks. As expected, those terms will make Williams ineligible to be traded this week.
Williams’ deal is now official.
12:12pm: The Clippers and veteran guard Lou Williams have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension, league sources tell Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune first reported (via Twitter) that the Clips planned to finalize Williams’ extension before today’s practice. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds that the deal will include a third-year team option, while TNT’s David Aldridge suggests there’s a partial guarantee on that third year (Twitter links).
Salary details aren’t yet known, but Williams would be eligible to receive up to about $30.3MM for three new years. A person with knowledge of the negotiations told Sam Amick of USA Today earlier today that a deal may end up closer to about $8.5MM annually.
Late last night, Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst broke the news that Williams and the Clippers were making progress toward a new contract, suggesting that teams with interest in trading for the 31-year-old were becoming “increasingly resigned” to the fact that he may not be available.
A contract extension on its own doesn’t make a player ineligible to be traded, but NBA rules will prevent Williams from being dealt for the next six months if he signs an extension that adds three new years to his current contract, or includes a raise of more than 5%. It appears that Lou Will’s extension will fit that bill, which would mean he’ll stay put at Thursday’s deadline. Even if Williams retains his trade eligibility, his agreement with the Clippers looks like a signal that he’s part of the team’s long-term plans.
Long regarded as one of the NBA’s most dangerous bench scorers, Williams has taken his game to another level since joining the Clippers in last June’s Chris Paul trade with the Rockets. In 51 games (14 starts) so far this season, the former second-round pick has put up 23.3 PPG and 5.3 APG with a shooting line of .439/.380/.900. He had been in the final year of his contract, earning a $7MM salary.
The timing of the move is interesting for the Clippers, who just cleared a considerable amount of long-term salary from their books last week by sending Blake Griffin to Detroit. There had been speculation that the front office was looking to create cap room to pursue free agents in the summer of 2019, or perhaps even 2018. Williams’ new deal figures to reduce the team’s spending flexibility.
After locking up Williams, the Clippers figure to continue exploring the trade market for deals involving some of their other veterans. As Charania notes within his report, DeAndre Jordan and Avery Bradley are both viewed as trade candidates.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.