Last week was an extremely busy one for the Los Angeles Lakers as Magic Johnson officially took over control of the team as president of basketball operations. The NBA Trade Deadline also took place and the Lakers made a pretty big move in dealing leading scorer Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets.
For the Lakers the move made sense on multiple levels as moving Williams freed up minutes and opportunities for their young core. It also gave them a guaranteed first-round pick as they only keep their own if lands in the top-3.
There were plenty of rumors surrounding Williams heading into the deadline which would lead some to think he was watching his phone as the deadline inched closer, but it was actually the opposite. Williams revealed the story of how he found out about the trade to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
“I was about five minutes into my workout when my best friend’s phone started ringing,” Williams said. “I got on him a little bit and told him to turn his phone off so I could get some work done. He looked at his phone and said, ‘Man, it’s your agent.’ I said, ‘My agent is calling you?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ Then I said, ‘Something happened.’
Williams was right as the Lakers dealt him for Corey Brewer and a first-round pick. Williams never seemed worried about the possibility of being traded even with the constant rumors surrounding him and true to form, he focused on the positives of the deal almost immediately after learning the news:
“I just took a deep breath and took everything in. After that, I was excited when I started thinking about the personality of this [Rockets] team and the way these guys play, the position they are in, in the West. Obviously, it’s going to be a playoff run, so I’m excited about that.”
It didn’t take long for Williams to fit right in with his new team as he averaged 24 points on 50 percent shooting in his first three games with the Rockets. Likewise, some of the younger Lakers have stepped up now that he has gone. In particular, D’Angelo Russell is averaging 23.3 points and 6.0 assists on 47.5 percent shooting in the Lakers’ three games since the All-Star break.
Sometimes trades can work out for both sides and this seems to be one of those cases. Both the Lakers and Rockets have benefitted in the way they intended from this move and hopefully that will continue moving forward.