Whether it was the first move of the Magic Johnson era (more likely) or the last move of the Mitch Kupchak regime (less likely), the Los Angeles Lakers’ trade of reserve shooter Lou Williams to Houston was the sort of non-blockbuster deal that still causes ripples in the Western Conference.
Williams goes to the Rockets for veteran swingman Corey Brewer and a first-round pick, as first reported by The Vertical at Yahoo Sports. That means the former Sixth Man of the Year winner will be enjoying the green light of Houston coach Mike D’Antoni in what’s left of an already career-high scoring season (27.7 points per 36 minutes for the 30-year-old Williams).
It means James Harden will have more help in the Rockets backcourt and presumably more chances to grab some bench. And it gives D’Antoni so much firepower in reserve that the NBA might want to think about instituting a Seventh Man of the Year award:
For the Lakers, Brewer’s salary and contract term (through 2017-18) are about a wash with Williams, but the first-round pick – even late in that round – is the type of asset Johnson and his new staff in L.A. are prioritizing.
Rockets still have two 2nd rd. picks in June: Portland and Denver. Both picks are projected to be in the 40's.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 22, 2017
And as usually happens with deals made while there’s still time on the clock before the annual trade deadline, a number of teams that might have coveted the Rockets’ or Lakers’ return have moved quickly to Plans B, C:
I wouldn't be surprised to see teams that missed on Lou Williams (NOLA, WAS, CLE, etc.) shift their focus to Darren Collison. He can be had.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 22, 2017