It’s time for the LA Clippers to extend Lou Williams’s contract

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 11: Lou Williams /

Lou Williams has been the heart and soul of the LA Clippers this season, and it’s time he receives an extension.

I’m fairly certain that if we went back and asked fans who they thought would be the best player on the LA Clippers this season, very few would’ve said Lou Williams.

These days, I’d argue him as the team’s MVP.

He’s averaging a team-best 23.3 points per game, connecting on nearly 41% of his three-point attempts, and has the second-most win shares on the team, behind only DeAndre Jordan. So even though Blake Griffin is more versatile, it’s no longer a given that he’s the team’s best player. Some of you may take offense to that, but it’s the truth.

That’s not to say this is “Lou’s team”, so to speak. The Clippers have proved time and time again this season that it’s more the “team’s team” than anything else. But the former Sixth Man award winner has been revolutionary, and for that reason alone, the Clippers should feel compelled to keep him around for another few years and extend his expiring contract.

There’s always room for scorers in the NBA, which is what most thought LA got when Williams was dealt from Houston. But as a focal point of the Clipper offense, we’re all realizing Sweet Lou’s ability to create for his teammates.

Williams has recorded 228 total assists this season, a mark head and shoulders above the rest of his teammates. The second-highest number is Griffin’s 164, followed by Milos Teodosic‘s 103. And even though Griffin (5.5) and Teodosic (5.4) have higher assist-per-game averages, Lou’s 5.1-per-game is a career-high.

The 12-year veteran has also been one of the most durable Clipper players this season. He’s played a team-high 45 of 46 games, with his only miss coming in San Antonio in December.

Williams has also developed a dedicated fanbase in Los Angeles, beyond what I originally thought was possible. When he was first brought in, most considered him to be trade bait. There were several comparisons to Jamal Crawford as well, but many thought he’d just fill the void that was left. Now, those same fans couldn’t imagine dealing him elsewhere. Instead, they’ve fully bought-in to the idea of Williams as a Clipper — as has he.

After dropping 50 on the Golden State Warriors, Williams was interviewed by ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. Towards the end, Van Pelt considered Lou’s future, asking if he thought another team would trade for him.

“Honestly, I would hope not,” Williams said. “I’m putting my heart and soul into this basketball team with the injuries that we’ve had and for us to still have an opportunity to be competitive. I would like find a home here and I’m starting to bond with these guys, so hopefully I’m still here at the end of the year.”

We reached out to Patrick Beverley for comment about how he thought Lou would react to being snubbed from the All-Star Game, and he echoed Williams’s sentiments about the team.

“Lou’s motivated by winning,” Beverley said. “He thinks about this team all the time. True true true leader. He loves it here with the Clippers and hopes that he’s here for a long time. Lou, Blake, and DJ will do whatever it takes so that we make it to the playoffs.”

Williams is currently on a 3-year, $21 million deal which he signed with the Lakers in 2015. He’s very clearly played far above those numbers this season. With his mind set on winning, it’s safe to assume that Williams is a big reason behind LA’s culture change. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, though, so if the Clippers plan on including him in their long-term plan, they need to act now. An extension will allow them to avoid the free agency headache and focus on the future.