Lou Williams was the one player on the Los Angeles Lakers roster this season that seemed destined to be sent elsewhere before the NBA trade deadline in February. Williams was averaging a team-high 18.6 points per game while having another solid season and a contract that was easy to move due to the fact he’s only owed $7 million next season.
With the Lakers looking for a first-round draft pick in return for Williams, the team had their fair share of suitors including the Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets, and Houston Rockets. Ultimately, the team made a deal with the Rockets and got what they wanted in return for the veteran guard.
Apparently, superstar James Harden may have helped influence the trade coming to fruition between the two teams ahead of the deadline last month. Williams admits Harden called him before the deadline to gauge his interest in playing for Houston, via The Vertical’s Shams Charania:
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
As a result of sending Williams to Houston, the Lakers received Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round draft pick from the Rockets. The deal was mutually beneficial for both sides with the Lakers getting the pick they desired in the upcoming draft and Houston brings in another scorer off the bench to help increase their chances of competing for a title this season.
Williams hasn’t missed a beat since joining the Rockets last month. The veteran guard continues to light up the scoreboard on a nightly basis while maintaining the reputation as one of the best bench players in the league.
The Rockets have already clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference and are currently sitting in the third seed behind the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors with a record of 51-22. Williams is third on the team in scoring averaging 13.9 points per game in the 14 games he’s played with the Rockets thus far.