After an extremely disappointing end to their 2019-20 campaign, the Los Angeles Clippers have made considerable changes to their lineup. The Clippers lost reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell to the rival Los Angeles Lakers, but they replaced him with veteran forward Serge Ibaka. They also traded reserve guard Landry Shamet and landed Luke Kennard to fill his void. The Clippers might not be done making moves either. Rival teams also expect L.A. to trade veteran guard Lou Williams, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Williams currently has one year remaining on the three-year, $24 million deal he signed with the Clippers in 2018, and he will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
The Clippers, though, haven't folded. They went into the off-season determined to make dramatic chemistry changes after a humbling second-round playoff exit to Denver. They upgraded from Harrell - who team officials quietly decided had to go - by luring Serge Ibaka away from Toronto. The additions of Ibaka and Luke Kennard (via trade with Detroit) are just the beginning; many rival teams also expect the Clippers to trade Lou Williams in their quest to create a fresh-start environment after they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets.
When it comes to the Clippers' issues last season, Williams said he thought that a lack of chemistry was a major problem.
"I think a lot of the issues that we ran into, talent bailed us out; chemistry it didn't," Lou Williams said after the Clippers were bounced in the Western Conference semifinals by the Denver Nuggets, via Sports Illustrated. "In this series, it failed us. We know this is our first year together. We are a highly talented group and we came up short.
"You know, we did have championship expectations," Williams added. "We had the talent to do it. I don't think we had the chemistry to do it and it showed. We had lapses on defense and offense where I think guys that played in systems where they were expected guys to be in certain spots offensively, a lot of different guys made adjustments. You know, it showed."
Williams is a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner, and even though he's getting up there in age (he's 34), he is still an extremely effective scorer. He has averaged over 18 points per game in each of the last three seasons, while also shooting over 41 percent from the floor. If he is made available in trade talks by the Clippers, there will likely be no shortage of suitors. Virtually every contender could use his instant offense off the bench. The fact that he only has a year remaining on his current contract will also be attractive to teams, as it will allow them to add the veteran guard for a single season without compromising long-term financial flexibility. As such, Williams' situation in L.A. is definitely one to keep an eye on as the 2020-21 season draws closer.