Lou Williams

Lou Williams Announces Retirement

Lou Williams is retiring from basketball after 17 years in the NBA, making the announcement Sunday morning in a YouTube video. The 36-year-old guard scored the most points off the bench by anyone in league history, and he’s a three-time winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award.

Williams last played for the Hawks during the 2021/22 season, averaging 6.3 PPG in 56 games, all as a reserve. He spent the past year as a free agent after his contract expired.

Williams was selected out of high school by the Sixers with the 45th pick in the 2005 draft. He made his first stop in Atlanta in 2012, signing there as a free agent, and was traded to the Raptors two years later. He signed with the Lakers in 2015 and was traded twice in 2017, first to the Rockets and then to the Clippers.

He had his most productive seasons with the Clippers, averaging 22.6 points per game in 2017/18 and 20.0 PPG in 2018/19 and capturing Sixth Man honors both times. Williams’ other Sixth Man award came in 2015 with Toronto. L.A. sent him back to Atlanta in a 2021 deal.

Williams embraced the role of bench scorer early in his career and defined it as well as anyone ever has. He never made more than 38 starts in a season, but his scoring average hit double figures for 14 straight seasons. He appeared in 1,123 games with six teams, averaging 13.9 PPG throughout his career and shooting 35.1% from three-point range.

Hawks Rumors: Murray, Durant, Collins, Hunter

The Hawkstrade for Dejounte Murray was the result of pressure from ownership to improve the roster before Trae Young‘s super-max extension takes effect next season, according to Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Murray is under contract for a combined $34.2MM over the next two years, and while the team doesn’t expect him to agree to an early extension that would limit his future earnings, there’s confidence that he will be a long-term backcourt partner for Young.

Atlanta’s front office had a “sense of confusion and disbelief” that the Spurs were willing to part with Murray, a 25-year-old All-Star with a team-friendly contract, the authors add. Sources tell them that the teams discussed a Murray deal last week, but the Spurs didn’t contact the Hawks for a long time afterward, leading to concerns on Atlanta’s side that San Antonio was reconsidering the trade or may have found a better offer.

San Antonio also discussed Murray with the Timberwolves, but Minnesota wasn’t willing to give up as much as the Hawks eventually did, Kirschner and Amick add. The Knicks were reported as a possible destination, but the authors say they never had trade talks with the Spurs about Murray.

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Amid the chaos surrounding the Nets last week, the Hawks were preparing to have an offer ready in case Kevin Durant asked for a trade, according to Kirschner and Amick.
  • Young is “really excited” about the Murray trade, states ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who adds that Atlanta likely isn’t done reshaping its roster (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks are facing a shrinking market for John Collins, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says in a podcast with Kirschner that was recorded Wednesday before the Murray trade was announced. Two potential destinations were eliminated when the Kings drafted Keegan Murray and the Trail Blazers traded for Jerami Grant. Kirschner adds that Atlanta won’t give up Collins without a decent return, so there’s a chance he won’t be traded this offseason.
  • Scotto and Kirschner address a number of other Hawks-related items. Atlanta may have interest in a Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade but only if it’s less than a max deal, De’Andre Hunter is considered part of the team’s core and could eventually land an extension near $20MM per season, and Delon Wright is much more likely to be re-signed than Lou Williams. Kirschner also cites potential “heat” on Nate McMillan, saying the Hawks will consider a coaching change if they don’t get off to a fast start next season.

Charania’s Latest: Kings, Collins, Capela, Wolves, Bridges, Pacers, More

The Kings are becoming “increasingly comfortable” with the idea of hanging onto the No. 4 pick and drafting a prospect there, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports in his latest Inside Pass column. Although Sacramento has entertained the idea of moving back or trading out of the lottery, the team’s asking price is said to be significant.

[RELATED: Kings’ No. 4 Overall Pick Drawing Serious Interest]

Charania adds that Kings general manager Monte McNair has had conversations with the Hawks about a possible John Collins trade, but says the No. 4 pick isn’t believed to be part of those discussions.

Here’s more from Charania’s latest round-up of rumors from across the NBA:

  • Collins isn’t the only Atlanta big man drawing trade interest. Charania reports that the Timberwolves – who are exploring the market for veteran centers – have discussed Clint Capela with the Hawks.
  • Rival executives believe restricted free agent Miles Bridges will command a maximum-salary contract or something close to it, and Charania’s sources believe the Hornets may be hesitant to match an offer sheet worth the max.
  • The Pacers continue to seriously consider trade possibilities involving Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon, according to Charania, who says the the Hornets have shown interest in Turner and the Wizards and Knicks are interested in Brogdon. Even if they move one or both players, the Pacers may opt to simply retool their “veteran core” rather than engaging in an all-out rebuild, Charania notes.
  • After spending the last season-and-a-half with the Hawks, veteran guard Lou Williams isn’t ready to call it a career. “(Williams) is not pursuing retirement, and I’ll be proactive in talking to teams during free agency,” agent Wallace Prather tells Charania.
  • It doesn’t appear the Jazz are on the verge of hiring a new head coach. According to Charania, the team is scheduling second interviews with nearly all of their 15 head coaching candidates as the next step in the process. Those 15 candidates are listed right here.

Hawks Notes: Offseason Priorities, Draft Workouts, More

Appearing on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said, unprompted, that the front office is committed this offseason to making roster changes in an attempt to improve the team after standing relatively pat a year ago.

“We made the decision last year to kind of run the same group back and we probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo,” Schlenk said. “This year, the way the season ended and played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”

Asked specifically about how much turnover the Hawks’ roster could experience, Schlenk suggested the club won’t be looking to re-sign all of its free agents.

“We have some guys that are free agents, we have some guys that have contract situations. We’ve got a guy eligible for a contract extension,” Schlenk said. “All that stuff plays into it. Every year, the only thing that’s really consistent in this league is change, so we anticipate that there will be some change, certainly with some of our free agents as we look to upgrade our roster.”

Delon Wright, Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kevin Knox, and Skylar Mays will be free agents this offseason, while Danilo Gallinari has a small partial guarantee on his salary for 2022/23 and De’Andre Hunter will be eligible for a rookie scale extension.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Schlenk said during his appearance on 92.9 The Game that the Hawks’ defense was a “big letdown” in 2021/22 and will be an area the club looks to address in the offseason. Schlenk added that having another reliable secondary ball-handler and shot creator to relieve the pressure on Trae Young will be a priority.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release that they’ve brought in 12 prospects this week, hosting six for a group workout on Monday and another half-dozen on Wednesday. Justin Bean (Utah State), Darius Days (LSU), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Gaige Prim (Missouri State), Will Richardson (Oregon), and Cole Swider (Syracuse) were in earlier this week, while Keve Aluma (Virginia Tech), Garrison Brooks (Mississippi State), Jamal Cain (Oakland), Keon Ellis (Alabama), Allen Flanigan (Auburn), and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) were part of today’s pre-draft workout.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines 10 offseason questions facing the Hawks, including whether team owner Tony Ressler is willing to go into luxury-tax territory, whether the team can attract a second star, and what level of pressure head coach Nate McMillan is under.

Bogdan Bogdanovic To Miss Must-Win Game 5 For Hawks

Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic will miss tonight’s must-win Game 5 in Atlanta’s first-round series against the Heat, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via Twitter) that Bogdanovic will sit due to soreness in his right knee. Bogdanovic’s fellow reserve guard Lou Williams will also miss the contest with lower back discomfort, per Spencer. The 35-year-old Williams has been unavailable for every game of the series thus far.

Spencer adds that Hawks center Clint Capela, who missed the first three games of the series with a hyperextended right knee, will be able to play.

Game 5 in Miami represents an opportunity for Atlanta, down 3-1 to the top-seeded Heat, to capitalize on the absence of two Heat starters, as All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler and veteran point guard Kyle Lowry have both been ruled out for the contest. The absence of Bogdanovic, averaging 14.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 3.0 APG across four games, will hurt the Hawks’ offensive attack.

The Hawks seem likely to lean further on the offense of wings Kevin Huerter and Delon Wright in the absence of Bogdanovic.

Jarrett Allen To Play On Friday

APRIL 15: Allen will make his return and start in the make-or-break matchup to determine the No. 8 seed in the East, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavs will also start Caris LeVert at shooting guard, with Isaac Okoro heading to the bench.

Charania first reported (via Twitter) that Allen would return on Friday, barring a last-minute setback.

APRIL 14: Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, who is officially listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, is going to attempt to return for Cleveland’s play-in game against the Hawks on Friday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski states (via Twitter) that Allen considers the odds of him returning to be “50-50,” as the pain in his fractured left middle finger is still bothering him quite a bit, but he’s intent on helping the Cavs make the playoffs. Allen missed the last 18 games of the regular season and Tuesday’s play-in tournament loss to Brooklyn after sustaining the injury on March 6.

A first-time All-Star in 2021/22, Allen had a stellar season for Cleveland, averaging 16.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting 67.7% from the field and 70.8% from the free throw line. He appeared in 56 games, with an average of 32.3 minutes per contest. The team was just 9-17 in the 26 games Allen missed this season.

Hawks big man John Collins has officially been ruled out for Friday’s game, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Collins has been dealing with a right foot sprain and plantar fascia tear, as well as a right ring finger sprain. He was considered unlikely to play in the matchup to determine the No. 8 seed in the East, so the fact that he has formally been listed as out isn’t surprising.

In other injury-related news for the Hawks, Bogdan Bogdanovic is listed as questionable with a left ankle sprain, while Lou Williams has been ruled out with lower back discomfort, per Kirschner.

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.