Lou Williams

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.

Hawks Notes: Williams, Backup PG, Okongwu, Roster

Lou Williams had considered retiring after the trade that sent him from the Clippers to the Hawks, but after Atlanta’s miraculous Eastern Conference Finals run, he’s thinking about coming back, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Blessing in disguise. ATL, thank you,” Williams wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday. “I appreciate the warm welcome back. My teammates and staff was nothing less than amazing to me. Love. #6man #undergroundgoat #thinkimcomingback.

The three-time Sixth Man of the Year is entering unrestricted free agency this summer.

We have more news from the Hawks:

  • While the Hawks are open to bringing back Williams, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk views the backup point guard spot as an area the team will try to upgrade this offseason, as Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “It’s no secret that we’ve always struggled to field a consistent role is at the backup point guard spot,” Schlenk said. “We’ve had a couple of different guys. I think that’ll be one area where we look to shore up this offseason.”
  • Schlenk expressed confidence in the team’s big men, including Clint Capela and John Collins, after Brook Lopez stepped up to provide a big offensive presence following the injury to Giannis Antetokounmpo. “When you get to the part of the season where we got to — the Eastern Conference finals — you’re playing against good teams and good players,” Schlenk said. “I have confidence in the big guys on our roster to be able to compete.”
  • On rookie center Onyeka Okongwu, Schlenk said: “I told ‘O’ yesterday I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player improve so much from the beginning of the playoffs to the end of the playoffs… Told him he should be extremely proud. But there’s a lot more there. And ‘O’ knows that and we feel like that. He’s only going to get better.”
  • Schlenk also touched on the roster-building challenges the team will face as a number of its current players get more expensive. “Obviously it’s a lot easier when you have guys on rookie-scale deals to build out your roster,” Schlenk said, “but once those deals come up, and those players start making bigger money, you really are limited on the ways to add to your team.”

Hawks Notes: Young, Capela, Williams

Atlanta won Game 4 vs. the Bucks in convincing fashion on Tuesday night, even without Trae Young in the lineup. Still, to maximize their chances of winning two more games and advancing to the NBA Finals, the Hawks would love to get their leading scorer back sooner rather than later.

Head coach Nate McMillan didn’t have a concrete update for reporters this morning on Young’s status, but said after Tuesday’s game that he suspects the star guard will ultimately be a game-time decision on Thursday, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). Young is dealing with a bone bruise in his right foot.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Starting center Clint Capela, who took an elbow to the eye late in Tuesday’s win, saw the team ophthalmologist after the game and is being re-evaluated on Wednesday, according to Bontemps (Twitter link). Sources tell ESPN that there’s optimism within the organization that Capela avoided a major injury and should be available for Game 5.
  • When he was traded from the Clippers to the Hawks in March, Lou Williams felt like he was being sent from a title contender to a sixth-place team, and contemplated retirement. Three months later, he found himself taking Young’s place in the starting lineup on Tuesday and helping lead new team to a win in a huge Eastern Conference Finals game. “We’re enjoying the ride. We feel like we deserve to be here. We’ve earned the right to be here, and at the same time we’re enjoying it,” Williams said, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. “Did I look ahead and say we can be a championship contender day one? Probably not. But we’re two wins away like everybody else, and we feel good about it.”
  • For more out of Atlanta, be sure to follow our Hawks team page.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Playoff Edition

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players on teams still alive in the postseason:

Lou Williams, Hawks, 34, PG/SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $24MM deal in 2018

When the Clippers and Hawks swapped veteran point guards at the trade deadline, the general consensus was that Los Angeles pulled off a coup landing Rajon Rondo. It doesn’t look that way right now. Rondo has only played nine minutes in the last four games against Utah, while Williams had 15 points, three assists and two steals in 23 minutes during Atlanta’s dramatic Game 5 comeback at Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Williams may not possess Rondo’s leadership qualities, but he’s been instant offense for many seasons wherever he’s played. The 34-year-old has been in the league since 2005 but he can stick around a few more seasons due to his offensive prowess.

Jeff Green, Nets, 34, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2020

It’s amazing to think that the Jazz had no use for Green midway through last season and put him on waivers. The Rockets scooped him up and he was highly productive. He’s doing the same thing for the Nets. After a solid regular season, Green battled a foot injury that sidelined him for six postseason games. Back in action, Green delivered a monster performance in Game 5 against Milwaukee, firing in 27 points while draining 7-of-8 3-point attempts. Green won’t have any trouble finding work as an unrestricted free agent this summer, whether he re-signs with Brooklyn or joins another contender.

Reggie Jackson, Clippers, 31, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.33MM deal in 2020

A TNT broadcaster called Jackson “Mr. June” as he made several clutch baskets in Game 5 at Utah on Wednesday. He’s not on the level of baseball’s “Mr. October” but this Reggie Jackson is proving to be a consistent playoff performer for the Clippers. He averaged 15.4 PPG against Dallas in the opening round, including a 25-point outing in Game 6. He scored 29 points in Game 2 and 22 in Game 5 against the Jazz. Jackson has also kept his turnovers down to a minimum. After having to settle for the veteran’s minimum in free agency last year, he’s due for a substantial raise when he enters the market again this summer.

Mike Conley, Jazz, 33, PG (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $152.6MM deal in 2016

Conley finally got his first taste of the All-Star Game this season. He got off to an impressive start in these playoffs, scoring 20 or more points in the first three games against Memphis. The injury bug soon bit him as Utah closed out the series and he’s been sidelined with a hamstring strain throughout the second round. That’s the main concern with Conley as he enters unrestricted free agency – he’s had numerous leg injuries in recent seasons. That could limit the amount of years teams will be willing to offer him.

Hawks Notes: McMillan, Offseason, Reddish, Collins, Young

Praising the job that interim head coach Nate McMillan has done since replacing Lloyd Pierce on the Hawks‘ sidelines, general manager Travis Schlenk said that McMillan has been especially adept at tweaking the team’s plays to fit specific players’ skills and has been “unbelievably consistent with his messaging,” writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

While it seems like a given that McMillan will be offered Atlanta’s head coaching job on a permanent basis, Schlenk said he has yet to have that conversation with the veteran coach, as Spencer relays.

“Obviously he’s done a great job, I’ve said that publicly. I’ve told Nate that, but our stance is still the same,” Schlenk said. “We’re going to let the season play out and then once the season plays out, we’ll sit down and have conversations. But to this point, short of me telling him he’s doing a great job, we haven’t had any more in-depth conversations.

“That’s quite frankly the way Nate likes it and wants to do it as well. We’re obviously extremely pleased with the job he has done; I have no problem saying that… But we haven’t had any conversations.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Asked about the possibility of bringing back largely the same roster for next season, Schlenk said he wouldn’t be opposed to that, though he acknowledged that a few changes could be coming, according to Spencer. “Every free agency, draft, we’ll add players through the draft, we have two picks this year. And then free agency and the trade season,” Schlenk said. “But listen, if this same group came back, it wouldn’t bother me at all. But we’ll have to see how the draft and free agency play out.”
  • Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) is able to conduct unrestricted individual workouts and is participating in team practices on a limited basis, according to the Hawks, who said the swingman will be reassessed in 10-14 days. Reddish isn’t expected to have a real role even if he’s able to return before the Hawks’ playoff run ends, but Schlenk said the plan is to have him play for Atlanta’s Summer League squad in August, as Spencer details.
  • Asked about the Hawks’ top offseason priorities, Schlenk identified John Collins‘ restricted free agency and the team’s two draft picks as the most important matters to sort out, according to Spencer. The Hawks’ GM also mentioned Lou Williams‘ unrestricted free agency and Kris Dunn‘s player option decision as issues to address.
  • Trae Young will likely receive a new deal from the Hawks this summer, but Schlenk was noncommittal when asked about the players who are eligible for rookie scale extensions. “To be honest, I haven’t even really talked with any of (Young’s) people yet about any of that stuff,” Schlenk said, per Spencer. Kevin (Huerter) and Trae are eligible. We’ll certainly look to talk to their groups at the appropriate time.”

Southeast Notes: Williams, Reddish, Zeller, Magic

Having announced last week on Instagram that he contemplated retirement after being traded to the Hawks, Lou Williams expanded on that subject during his Tuesday media availability, explaining that it “hurts” to have been traded by the Clippers.

“I had a lot of investment there. We had some success,” Williams said, per Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. “We were gearing up for another deep run, a championship run. That was my mentality. I thought I would finish the season there.

“… (But) I don’t want to look back and say I retired prematurely, be asking myself what could have been or what I could’ve done. This is an opportunity to finish out the season with this team (Atlanta) and go from there.”

Williams was cleared to play on Tuesday night, but didn’t take the court. Having just met most of his teammates, he wanted to take a game to get his bearings before entering the fray, Newberry writes.

“I want to get an understanding of how they play,” Williams said. “See their sets, get a feel for their rotations, understand how this group of guys mesh, see where I might fit. It would be unfair to this group of guys to just throw me out there.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Hawks provided a minor update on Cam Reddish (Achilles) on Tuesday night, announcing in a press release that he has increased his lower limb weight room work and will add limited low level impact work. Reddish isn’t close to returning and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
  • After falling out of the Hornets‘ starting lineup and seeing his minutes dip, Cody Zeller resolved to try to earn back those minutes rather than sulking, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “My high school coach used to say, ‘If you want to play more, play better,'” said Zeller, who had 16 points and 13 rebounds in just 24 minutes on Tuesday. The big man has assured head coach James Borrego that he’ll remain engaged regardless of how much playing time he gets, Bonnell adds.
  • With the Magic in position to get a high lottery pick in this year’s draft, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic identifies Cade Cunningham, Jalen Suggs, and Jalen Green as the top prospects the team should target if given the opportunity. Evan Mobley has positional overlap with Wendell Carter and Mohamed Bamba, but he and Jonathan Kuminga would both be good fallback options too if Orlando gets a top-five pick and those first three prospects aren’t available, Vecenie says.

Pacific Notes: Dinwiddie, Oubre, Craig, George, Rondo

The Warriors turned down pre-deadline overtures from the Nets for Kelly Oubre with Spencer Dinwiddie as the bait, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports in his latest newsletter. Dinwiddie, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a partially torn ACL, holds a $12.3MM player option on his contract next season. There’s been speculation he’ll opt out, which made him an attractive trade option.

However, the Warriors’ declined the Nets’ offers because they still want to make the playoffs this season. Golden State wouldn’t give up Oubre and his expiring contract unless the team got a healthy, productive player in return.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns were interested in small forward Torrey Craig last offseason, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. Phoenix acquired Craig on March 18 from the Bucks for cash considerations. After spending his first three NBA seasons with the Nuggets, Craig spurned Phoenix’s overtures and signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Bucks during the 2020 offseason.
  • Paul George has been in the NBA since 2010 but he believes he can learn a thing or two from trade deadline acquisition Rajon Rondo, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets“I’m looking forward to learning from him,” the Clippers forward said. “He has one of the most beautiful basketball minds. It is going to help me down the road and evolve my game and open my game up to see the floor and read teammates better.”
  • Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank hated to give up Lou Williams but felt Rondo filled a crying need, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. Frank said the team required an “orchestrator” and “someone who can really help elevate everyone’s game.”

Lou Williams Considered Retirement After Trade

Veteran guard Lou Williams contemplated retirement following the trade that sent him from the Clippers to the Hawks on Thursday. As the three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner explained in a post on Instagram, being dealt away by the Clippers – his team for the last four years – hit him hard.

I thought about retiring yesterday. You give so much to an organization and you wake up and boom, it’s no more,” Williams wrote. “Then in true Clipper nation fashion I was reminded that my talent and contribution was appreciated and it made me reflect on what’s to come. There’s plenty left in my tank and I’m privileged to continue my career in my backyard.”

The Clippers didn’t want to move Williams, but he was the only salary-matching piece that made sense in their deal for Rajon Rondo, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

The Hawks, incidentally, received high marks on that trade from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link). Rondo hadn’t been effective this season and was owed a guaranteed $7.5MM salary for 2021/22, so trading him for Williams’ expiring $8MM deal and multiple second-round picks was an “enormous win” for Atlanta, Pelton argues.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Although it’s a win for the Hawks overall, the Rondo trade will cost the team a respected veteran leader in the locker room, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, who says some players were going to the point guard for guidance over former head coach Lloyd Pierce. Kirschner notes that Williams, a 16-year veteran, should help replace Rondo’s leadership.
  • With Rondo gone, the Hawks don’t have a clear-cut backup point guard, but general manager Travis Schlenk said today that he thinks Williams can fill that role, with Bogdan Bogdanovic and others also sharing ball-handling responsibilities, per Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Schlenk added that the team will count on Williams to inject more offense into a second unit that has often struggled to score without Trae Young on the floor.
  • Atlanta never had any “serious conversations” about a John Collins trade prior to Thursday’s deadline, Schlenk told reporters. “We’ve been steadfast that we view John as a big part of our team, a big part of our franchise,” the Hawks’ GM said, according to Spencer. “Like with all our players, we do our due diligence to see what their value is, but I don’t think that you’ve ever heard myself or anybody else in the Hawks organization say that we don’t place great value on John. We do.”
  • Schlenk told reporters today that the plan is for Kris Dunn (ankle) to scrimmage on Monday, and that the guard could make his Hawks debut near the end of the team’s current West Coast road trip, tweets Spencer. That trip concludes on April 2 in New Orleans.

Clippers, Hawks Swap Rajon Rondo, Lou Williams

8:34pm: The exchange of Williams and Rondo is now official, per press releases from the Clippers and Hawks.

“Being able to acquire a respected veteran in Lou Williams, one of the best scorers and playmakers off the bench in league history, and two second-round picks accomplished a couple of the goals we had,” Hawks team president Travis Schlenk said in a statement.

“We could not be more excited to welcome Rajon to the Clippers,” Clippers team president Lawrence Frank said. “He is a proven winner, a relentless competitor, and one of the most skilled orchestrators of his era. We believe he will elevate our group and continue to propel us forward.”

The Clippers clarified in their announcement that the 2023 second-rounder headed to Atlanta in the deal is Portland’s pick.


1:32pm: The Hawks and Clippers have reached an agreement to swap Williams and Rondo, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Atlanta will also acquire a pair of second-round picks and cash in the deal, sources tell Charania and Amick (Twitter link). It’ll be a homecoming for Williams, who won’t be flipped to a third team, tweets Charania.

According to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (Twitter link), the second-rounders going to Atlanta are 2023 and 2027 picks. That ’27 selection will be L.A.’s own. The Clippers control Portland’s 2023 second-rounder in addition to their own, so it’s not clear which of those picks the Hawks are getting.


1:30pm: Lou Williams has been discussed in the Clippers/Hawks negotiations, according to Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link), who indicate that Williams could end up in Atlanta or be re-routed to a third team.

Williams is on an $8MM expiring contract.


1:27pm: The Clippers and Hawks are engaged in serious discussions about a deal that would send Rajon Rondo back to Los Angeles, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported earlier today that the Clippers were eyeing Rondo.

Rondo, 35, signed a two-year, $15MM contract with Atlanta in the offseason after spending the previous two seasons with the Lakers, winning a championship with the team in 2020.

However, his numbers have dipped since joining the Hawks, as he’s averaged a career-low 3.9 points and 3.5 assists per game in just 14.9 minutes per contest. He has also been limited to 27 games due to injuries.

Despite his declining production, Rondo could still be an asset for a team like the Clippers that has been scouring the market for a play-making guard to complement its two star forwards, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

If the Clippers swing a deal for Rondo, they’ll have to send out some salary. As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the point guard’s salary is $7.5MM and the Clippers have just $2.6MM in breathing room below their hard cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Amick’s Latest: Celtics, Barnes, Clippers, Lowry, Bagley

Many front office people around the NBA believe the Celtics might trade for Kings forward Harrison Barnes prior to this month’s deadline, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. Boston’s interest in Barnes has been reported multiple times this season, including on Tuesday by Chris Mannix of SI.com.

As Amick explains, Barnes is probably a more realistic target for the Celtics than players like Jerami Grant and Nikola Vucevic, whose teams would likely seek a more substantial return. Sources tell The Athletic that the Kings appear to be shifting into seller mode, so they could be intrigued by Boston’s first-round picks and young prospects, who would match Sacramento’s timeline.

Here’s more from Amick:

  • Sources tell The Athletic that the Celtics‘ interest in James Harden – and their involvement in the Harden sweepstakes – was more serious than Danny Ainge‘s comments at the time would suggest. Amick has previously reported that Boston was still in the mix during the later stages of negotiations.
  • The Clippers feel good about their core and if they make any trades, they’ll likely just address the margins of their roster, according to Amick, who hears from sources that Lou Williams no longer appears available, as he was in the offseason.
  • People around the NBA believe Kyle Lowry‘s $30.5MM cap hit will be an obstacle that may prevent the Raptors guard from being dealt, says Amick. The Clippers are among the teams with interest in Lowry, but may not be able to make the money work, according to Amick, who points to the Thunder‘s George Hill as a more affordable and attainable alternative for teams in need of a veteran point guard.
  • Finances will also be a factor for teams considering making a play for Kings forward Marvin Bagley III, per Amick. Bagley will make $11.3MM in 2021/22 and his qualifying offer in ’22 would be worth nearly $15MM.