Lou Williams

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Trail Blazers, Heat, Rockets, Sixers, I. Thomas, More

The league continues to be battered by players entering and exiting the health and safety protocols. If any of the players entering the protocols registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are the latest updates from around the NBA:

Two Hawks Players, Magic’s Mulder Enter Protocols

Two more Hawks players have entered the health and safety protocols, according to the team (via Twitter). Veteran guard Lou Williams and wing Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot have been ruled out of Wednesday’s game vs. Orlando after being placed in the protocols.

Williams and Luwawu-Cabarrot join Trae Young, Clint Capela, and Danilo Gallinari in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. If those players have tested positive, they’ll be out for 10 days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The Hawks have taken steps to add replacement players and aren’t currently at risk of falling short of the required minimum of eight players. The team signed Lance Stephenson and Malcolm Hill on Wednesday and is expected to finalize a deal with Wesley Iwundu on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Magic two-way guard Mychal Mulder also entered the health and safety protocols today, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). Like their Wednesday opponents, the Magic have been hit hard by COVID-19 but have added several replacements and will have enough bodies available to play tonight’s game in Atlanta.

Mulder is the sixth player to enter the protocols for Orlando, joining Mohamed Bamba, Ignas Brazdeikis, R.J. Hampton, Terrence Ross, and Moritz Wagner. The club is also missing several players due to long-term injuries.

Lou Williams: 2021/22 May Be My Last Season

Speaking to Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report (video link) about his NBA career, Hawks guard Lou Williams said that 2021/22 is “probably my last season.” However, Williams admitted that he thought the same thing last season and continued playing.

[RELATED: Lou Williams Considered Retirement After Trade To Hawks]

“Potentially,” Williams said when pressed by Rooks about whether he intends to retire after the current season. “I have the clarity, I’m OK with that. But I’m also OK with continuing to play if that’s where it takes me. I’m prepared for the worst.”

It doesn’t sound like Williams has made any decisions yet, but the fact that he’s even discussing retirement is noteworthy. The three-time Sixth Man of the Year just turned 35 last Wednesday, and some of his contemporaries have talked about wanting to play into their 40s. It doesn’t sound like the 17th-year guard expects his playing career to last anywhere near that long.

Williams, who entered the NBA as a second-round pick in 2005, has averaged double-digit points per game for 14 straight seasons, but has gotten off to a slow start this fall, averaging 6.3 PPG and 0.5 APG on .381/.333/1.000 shooting in four games for Atlanta.

While there’s plenty of time to increase those numbers, Williams’ limited playing time so far (12.3 MPG, two DNP-CDs) suggests he likely won’t have a major role for the Hawks this season. He’ll be a free agent in 2022 when his one-year, $5MM deal with the club expires.

Free Agent Rumors: Iguodala, Oubre, Williams, Smith

A reunion between the Warriors and defensive specialist Andre Iguodala could be in the works. Iguodala has narrowed his choices to his former team along with the Nets and Lakers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Iguodala, 37, played 63 regular-season games with the Heat this past season and averaged a modest 4.4 PPG in 21.3 MPG, with a majority of his field-goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. Iguodala won three rings in six seasons with the Warriors.

We have more free agent buzz:

  • Free agent forward Kelly Oubre is in discussions with the Hornets, David Aldridge of The Athletic tweets. Oubre averaged 15.4 PPG and 6.0 RPG for Golden State last season but only made 31.6% of his 3-point attempts. The Hornets are also reportedly pondering an offer sheet to Bulls free agent Lauri Markkanen — with approximately $14MM in cap room remaining, they wouldn’t be able to sign both players unless one accepted a very team-friendly rate.
  • Before Lou Williams chose to return to the Hawks, the Lakers, Warriors and Bucks showed interest in the three-time Sixth Man of the Year award, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Williams opted for a one-year, $5MM agreement with Atlanta.
  • Free agent guard Dennis Smith Jr. won’t return to the Pistons, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets. That’s no surprise, considering Detroit drafted Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick and reached an agreement with Cory Joseph after declining its team option on him.

Hawks Sign Lou Williams To One-Year Deal

AUGUST 6: The Hawks have officially signed Williams, according to a press release from the team.


AUGUST 5: After a successful late-season run with the Hawks in 2020/21, veteran guard Lou Williams has agreed to re-sign with the team on a one-year, $5MM deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Williams, a three-time winner of the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, began the 2020/21 season with the Clippers, but was sent to Atlanta in a deadline deal involving Rajon Rondo when the Clips determined their backcourt needed more of a play-maker than a scorer.

Having spent the last three-and-a-half seasons in Los Angeles and having won two Sixth Man awards with the franchise, Williams was hit hard by the trade and admitted he contemplated retirement upon being sent to the Hawks. However, his arrival and his strong play in Atlanta helped push the team to the No. 5 seed in the East and the third round of the playoffs.

Williams averaged 10.0 PPG and 3.4 APG on .389/.444/.870 shooting in 24 regular season contests (21.0 MPG) for the Hawks, then put up 7.7 PPG and 2.2 APG on .455/.433/.963 shooting in 18 playoff games (15.4 MPG).

The Pacers, Bucks, and Heat were among the other teams linked to Williams during free agency, but a reunion with the Hawks was always viewed as a realistic possibility. While the 34-year-old won’t get the multiyear deal he’d reportedly been seeking, his $5MM salary will be nearly double the veteran’s minimum.

The Hawks had Williams’ Bird rights, so they won’t have to use cap room or a mid-level exception to re-sign him.

Free Agency Rumors: Paul, Caruso, Birch, Green, Heat

The Pelicans offered Chris Paul a $100MM contract early in free agency, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on today’s episode of The Hoop Collective podcast. Windhorst believes the Pelicans’ offer helped convince the Suns to add a fourth year to their offer — that fourth year is not guaranteed, but it’s not clear if New Orleans’ offer would have been fully guaranteed either.

According to Windhorst, after new Pelicans head coach Willie Green tried to help recruit him, Paul entertained the idea for some time before ultimately committing to the Suns.

On the same episode of The Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne stated that Alex Caruso was willing to go back to the Lakers for three years and $30MM, but that the Lakers weren’t willing to higher than about $7MM per year for the veteran guard. Concerns about an exorbitant luxury-tax penalty factored into that decision, per Shelburne.

We have more free agency rumors:

  • Khem Birch could be nearing a return to the Raptors, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). Grange reports that there’s “growing momentum” toward the two sides reaching a deal. The 28-year-old center was extremely productive in his 19 games for the Raptors after coming over in a trade, and has turned himself into a solid starting center over the last couple seasons.
  • Add the Cavaliers to the list of teams interested in Danny Green, reports ESPN’s Jordan Schultz. Schultz also confirms, in a follow-up tweet, that the Lakers remain interested in a reunion with Green, which Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports previously reported. It doesn’t appear the Lakers will be able to offer Green more than the veteran’s minimum though.
  • Following their deal with Victor Oladipo, the Heat remain interested in a low-cost veteran guard who will be healthy at the start of the season, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), who names Lou Williams as a player who would “welcome” interest from the team.

Pacers Rumors: Turner, Lamb, Brogdon, Ball, FAs

Plenty of trade speculation has swirled around the Pacers heading into the 2021 offseason, but a league source tells J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required) that a “seismic” change to Indiana’s roster is unlikely.

One player whose name has popped up frequently in trade rumors during the last year or two is Myles Turner, and teams haven’t slowed their efforts to land the rim-protecting big man. According to Michael, the Knicks have gotten more aggressive lately in their pursuit of Turner — they aren’t the only club trying to trade for Turner, but they appear to be making the strongest push as of late, Michael says.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • With lottery pick Chris Duarte expected to step into a role on the wing, the Pacers are interested in moving Jeremy Lamb, reports Michael. Lamb, who was limited to 36 games last season due to injuries, is on a $10.5MM expiring contract.
  • The Pacers have had discussions about whether Malcolm Brogdon is the answer at point guard, according to Michael, who writes that the team also talked about possibly pursuing Lonzo Ball. However, Ball doesn’t seem to be a serious option for Indiana at this point, Michael adds.
  • T.J. McConnell and Doug McDermott both have interest in returning to the Pacers, but McConnell wants security (ie. a multiyear deal) and McDermott may get too pricey for the team. As he’s previously reported, Michael notes that McConnell is more likely than McDermott to re-sign with the Pacers.
  • Michael points to Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, Will Barton, and Garrett Temple as some free agents who may appeal to Indiana.

Scotto’s Latest: Markkanen, Noel, Raptors, Pistons, L. Williams

The Bulls and Lauri Markkanen are open to working out a sign-and-trade deal that would send him to a new team, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Chicago issued Markkanen a qualifying offer this week that will ensure he’s a restricted free agent, giving the team some leverage in negotiations.

Scotto identifies the Timberwolves – who have long been on the hunt for a power forward – as one team to watch as a possible sign-and-trade destination for Markkanen. The Spurs and Thunder are also among the teams with Markkanen on their radar, per Scotto. San Antonio and Oklahoma City would have the cap flexibility necessary to issue Markkanen an offer sheet without giving up an asset in a sign-and-trade if they’re confident Chicago won’t match.

Here are a few more updates on free agency from Scotto:

  • Following a strong season in New York, free agent big man Nerlens Noel is expected to draw interest from the Raptors, Knicks, Pistons, and Kings, writes Scotto.
  • The Raptors and Pistons should have a little cap flexibility and will likely look to the free agent market to address the center position. Scotto reiterates that Jarrett Allen and Richaun Holmes are on Toronto’s radar, and names Kelly Olynyk as a potential Detroit target. Some people around the league believe Olynyk will end up signing a deal worth $10-12MM per year, Scotto adds.
  • Despite mutual interest in a new deal between the Hawks and Lou Williams, the three-time Sixth Man of the Year will receive interest from other clubs, including the Pacers and Bucks, says Scotto. Williams is seeking a multiyear deal.

Eastern Rumors: Ball, Rose, Tucker, Portis, Allen, Williams, Fournier, Schroder, Horton-Tucker

The Bulls are looking to make to major additions to shore up their point guard position, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The Bulls have been linked for months to Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball and there’s thought to be mutual interest between the two sides on a four-year deal worth more than $80MM. If the Pelicans extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to Ball, he’ll be a restricted free agent — the Bulls would have to give him an offer sheet and hope New Orleans doesn’t match it, or work out a sign-and-trade with the Pels.

The Bulls may have some competition from the Celtics, who have been recently mentioned as a potential Ball suitor after dealing away Kemba Walker. There’s increasing speculation the Celtics will not look to re-sign unrestricted free agent Evan Fournier, says Fischer. That possibility increased significantly after the Celtics agreed to acquire Josh Richardson from the Mavericks.

Chicago is also considering another Derrick Rose reunion and there’s mutual interest. It’s uncertain if the Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau can convince Rose, an unrestricted free agent, to re-sign with them if the Bulls make a hard push. However, Chicago will likely need to shed salary in order to bring in both Ball and Rose and the Knicks have plenty of cap room to outbid the Bulls for his services. While that’s a best case scenario in the Bulls’ eyes, they’re intent on adding two point guards this summer, especially with Coby White out indefinitely after undergoing left shoulder surgery, per Fischer.

Fischer offers up a number of other interesting items:

  • The Bucks are interested in bringing back two of their prominent free agents. They’d like to re-sign defensive specialist P.J. Tucker on a contract in the neighborhood of two years and $20MM. They are also hoping to re-sign forward Bobby Portis and the feeling is mutual. Since the Bucks only have Non-Bird rights on Portis, they’d have to use their mid-level exception to give him a starting salary higher than about $4.3MM.
  • The Cavaliers view the Raptors as their main threat to re-signing restricted free agent Jarrett Allen. Toronto’s interest in Allen surfaced last weekend. However, Cleveland is likely to match any offer sheet for Allen. The Raptors are also eying Kings free agent Richaun Holmes.
  • League sources think Lou Williams, one of the league’s top reserves, could re-sign with the Hawks on a veteran’s minimum deal, sys Fischer.
  • The Knicks, who need to add scoring punch, have expressed interest in Fournier. They’ve also been linked to Lakers guards Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker. Schroder will be looking for a new home after the Lakers agreed to acquire Russell Westbrook. Previous reports have indicated the Knicks’ potential pursuit of Fournier and Schroder. Horton-Tucker is a restricted free agent after the Lakers extended a qualifying offer, though the team has the option of pulling it off the table.
  • According to SNY.TV’s Ian Begley, there’s support within the Knicks organization to pursue Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie and he’s interested in remaining in New York. Devonte’ GrahamKendrick Nunn, and Kyle Lowry are some other potential targets at point guard. At the wing, the Knicks have some interest in the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan and they’ve had discussions with the Magic this week regarding a potential Terrence Ross trade.

Scotto’s Latest: Beverley, Mann, L. Williams, Wizards

Veteran guard Patrick Beverley is open to signing a contract extension with the Clippers, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast alongside Yossi Gozlan.

Beverley, who will earn $14.3MM in the final year of his current contract in 2021/22, loves playing in Los Angeles with the Clippers, according to Scotto, who says the former Arkansas standout is a “big fan” of team owner Steve Ballmer. The team will have to determine this offseason how it plans to handle the point guard position, including Beverley’s and Rajon Rondo‘s expiring contracts.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Terance Mann is another key Clippers guard who is eligible for an extension this summer, but Scotto doesn’t believe they’ve had those discussions yet. Scotto gets the sense that Mann would only seriously consider an extension if the club offered the maximum allowable contract (approximately $56MM over four years).
  • Veteran guard Lou Williams is believed to be seeking a multiyear deal of either two or three years, says Scotto. Williams has interest in re-signing with the Hawks, and comments from GM Travis Schlenk at season’s end suggest that interest is mutual, Scotto adds.
  • Before beginning their second round of interviews, the Wizards met with Suns assistant Kevin Young about their head coaching vacancy, according to Scotto, who suggests Young is a name to watch for future coaching openings.