According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Lou Williams is involved in a draft night trade rumor that would see the Dallas Mavericks moving the 18th overall pick for the veteran guard.
Givony wrote that the Mavericks are in talks with several teams for the 18th pick, with Williams as one prominent potential target:
However, several teams are exploring making a trade with the Mavs involving this pick, with the Clippers and Lou Williams being a popular choice around the league as a potential trade partner.
Such a deal would thrust the Clippers into the middle of the first round of Wednesday’s draft. Despite having just the 57th pick, the Clippers are a likely candidate to purchase a pick earlier in the second round and have worked out a number of point guard prospects who are more likely to go in the 30s than 50s, such as Malachi Flynn, Payton Pritchard, and Tyrell Terry, according to the LA Times’ Andrew Greif.
The 18th pick, however, would open the door to a prospect ranked even higher, such as R.J. Hampton (mocked at 19 by The Athletic, 15 by ESPN), Aleksej Pokusevski (16/18), Tyrese Maxey (18/14), Demond Bane (20/24), and Cole Anthony (24/21), among others. Flynn (34/22) and Terry (21/28) have both been mocked as high as the early 20s, so if the Clippers loved either prospect this deal would likely guarantee their ability to select him.
However, the Clippers could also look to not use the pick themselves at all. It’s been well-covered that LA could stand to add a veteran distributor at the point guard position, but lack assets to make a deal work. Just look at the packages that Chris Paul and Jrue Holiday were traded for yesterday–LAC just can’t win those bidding wars. However, that 18th overall pick could be the key to Lawrence Frank making a deal for a guard like Ricky Rubio. With the Mavericks coincidentally rumored to have interest in newly-acquired Thunder forward Kelly Oubre.
A three-team trade could be possible, sending Williams and Oubre to Dallas, Rubio to Los Angeles, and salary filler and assets (headlined by this 18th overall pick) to Oklahoma City. To make the finances work, the Clippers would have to send Rodney McGruder to Oklahoma City and contribute to the asset pool, likely using a future 2nd round pick or sophomore big man Mfiondu Kabengele. The Mavericks would have to send out a package that would probably begin with Delon Wright and Justin Jackson, requiring just one more small contract to complete the deal–Boban Marjanovic, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Jalen Brunson would all be options. Given that Dallas is acquiring Williams as well as Oubre, it’s possible that they’d send a future protected 1st to the Thunder as well.