The reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams spoke about leaving the Raptors over the weekend. He had some interesting things to say about his new team and how things ended in Toronto.
After having one of his best career seasons with the Toronto Raptors, where he averaged 15.5 points, 2.1 steals and 1.9 rebounds per game--and ranked third in the team's offensive efficiency--the 28-year-old signed a three-year deal with the Lakers.
Much to the displeasure of some fans, Lou posted a photo on Instagram saying he was never offered a contract.
After signing with Los Angeles, Williams spoke to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders and opened up about the recent move.
Williams, who said he enjoyed his time with the Raptors, said the team never presented him an offer to stay. "They told me, basically, that I could walk."
"Just to speak candidly, it caught me by surprise that we didn’t get something done. I made it clear that I wanted to be there and I thought, with the type of year that I had, the feeling would be mutual. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I think they wanted to go in a different direction and become more of a defensive-minded team. With the way that the playoffs ended, I think it left a sour taste in management’s mouth and they went out and picked up defensive players. They got DeMarre [Carroll], they got Cory Joseph, they got [Bismack] Biyombo – guys who they feel like can help them on the defensive end. They told me, basically, that I could walk. That was unfortunate, but it’ll work out for both sides. They got a guy who is from Toronto, Canada who will replace me in Cory and now I have an opportunity to continue my career as well, so it worked out for everybody."
Williams continued, saying the Lakers were one of the first teams to approach him when the free agency period opened up, with talks becoming serious once it was clear Toronto was moving on:
"Well, they (the Lakers) were one of the first teams to reach out to me once free agency began and they just started to touch base with us. At that point, we weren’t sure what direction we were heading in because we wanted to see if [returning to] Toronto was going to work out. Then, yesterday, the talks got a little bit more serious and it just looked like a good opportunity for me to take. It really only took, like, five minutes to get done once we entered serious talks."
Now that he's with a new team trying to return to their glory days, Williams said he expects to come off the bench again and retain his role as the Sixth Man of the Year.
"Absolutely. I look forward to it. That’s become something that is part of my career and it’s a role that I’ve learned to love over the years. If you’re going to be a Sixth Man, if you’re going to come off of the bench, you want to be the best one to do it."
What do you guys think? Did the Raptors make the right move not offering a contract extension to Williams?