Yesterday was a busy day for the Los Angeles Lakers. In a major shakeup, they fired long time GM Mitch Kupchak and promoted Magic Johnson to President of Basketball Operations. He didn’t waste any time making his first trade.
Lou Williams (18.6 points per game, 2.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 24.2 minutes)
Corey Brewer (4.2 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 15.9 minutes)
A 2017 First Round Pick
Williams was the Lakers leading scorer, and the leading candidate for sixth man of the year. It’s a pretty simple decision for Los Angeles. It’s time for them to hand over the franchise to their youngsters, and also lose as many games as possible. They only keep their draft pick this year if it falls in the top 3, and while they have the league’s third worst record, it seems that they’re willing to shore up their chances of keeping their pick. They also receive the Rockets first round pick out of the deal, which won’t be too amazing, since the Rockets are currently the fourth best team in the league, but, it’s supposed to be a deep draft, and for a team fixing to rebuild, the more first round picks, the better. Also headed to Hollywood is Corey Brewer, a defensive minded player who has really struggled this year. I’m not sure how he’ll fit in with the Lakers. He’s a veteran player joining a team that needs to develop their youngsters. To me, he’s the kind of guy a team trying to make the Playoffs might try and scoop up to shore up their bench. Perhaps that still might happen if the Lakers buy him out, or use him in another trade. For them, this trade was all about getting that draft pick.
By adding Lou Williams, the Rockets have bolstered an already potent lineup. They now have the two highest scorers coming off the bench (Williams & Eric Gordon). They know that any success they’re going to have in the offseason is going to be from outscoring everyone, and Williams gives them more of a chance to do that.
This is a helpful trade for both teams. The Lakers aren’t thinking about the present, they’re thinking about the future, and they’re doing everything they can to ensure they keep their own draft pick in what’s supposed to be a strong draft, while snatching up another one. Meanwhile, Houston’s got their mind on the present, bolstering their already potent lineup with another high scorer to come off their bench. They’re going to be a tough team to deal with in the Playoffs.