|Mo Williams wants the Clippers to tell him they love him. (Getty Images)|
After the Clippers acquired Chris Paul, the obvious assumption was that Mo Williams was instant trade bait. The Clips just picked up CP3, just signed Chauncey Billups and had youngster Eric Bledsoe as a third option.
But the Clippers held on to Williams and it has paid off big time. He's having a Sixth Man Award caliber year off the L.A. bench and even has gotten a little chatter to be named an All-Star. He's been nothing short of terrific and a big part of the Clipper rotation.
And he wants to be recognized for it. As he told T.J. Simers of the L.A. Times, he just wants "to know where I stand with the Clippers." Which is another way of saying, "Pay me."
"I want to play," he says in explaining his attitude, but what he really means to say is, he wants to start. But aren't Paul and Billups better players?Williams has two years left on his deal pay him $8.5 million a season. The Clippers have said they don't see him as simply trade bait and with the injury to Billups, that will likely be true. But he still wants an extension and he wants a better role.
"I'll let you decide," Williams says. "They are teammates of mine, so I won't say."
I help him out: They are much better than you are. Now Billups is out, and Coach Vinny Del Negro is going with Randy Foye as his starter instead of Williams. Obvious question for Williams: Are you upset about this?
"For this team I have a role," he says, "whether I accept it or not."
And does he accept it, his job still to come off the bench and provide energy and scoring?
"Like I said, I'm playing basketball," he says.
"The way they tell you they love you every day is by signing you to a contract extension," Williams says.For a guy that's had a bit of a rebirth on a team most didn't see being this good before the CP3 trade, he sure does seem a bit disgruntled. Selfish, even. He has a role, is playing a lot and doing his job well. He's getting paid well and the Clippers have said they aren't going to trade him. What more does he want? A contract extension? Who doesn't want one? Financial security is wonderful, but worry about that later. Focus on doing your job every night and that'll take care of itself.
"This has nothing to do with money," Williams says.
Any time an athlete says it has nothing to do with the money, it has everything to do with money.
"You misinterpreted what I said," Williams says. "This has nothing to do with money; I just don't know where I stand.
"I could be traded tomorrow. I could be traded next week or before March 15, [the trade deadline], or before next season. They aren't going to trade Blake Griffin."
I help him out again. "You are not in the same class as Blake Griffin," and he seems surprised.
"I'm not looking for anything," he says. "I'll approach every day the same and be prepared to play, but in a month I could be gone. I'm just answering your questions now."
The Clippers need Williams more than ever now. Without Billups, Williams is as important a player as they have, not named Blake or Chris. He's their top option off the bench and a major part of their success. If he doesn't realize that or needs the Clippers to tell him that in the form of a contract extension, then I'd just say he's got his priorities mixed up.