Lou Williams to Utah Jazz Hopes Dashed as Lakers Make Deal

Jan 26, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Louis Williams (23) looks to drive to the hoop against Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks (10) in the second quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 26, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Louis Williams (23) looks to drive to the hoop against Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks (10) in the second quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

Although there had been a lot of buzz about a potential trade sending Lou Williams to the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Lakers squashed those hopes by agreeing to a deal to send him instead to the Houston Rockets.

Following yesterday’s report that the Utah Jazz had arisen as a team that was targeting Lou Williams in a potential trade, there was quite a bit of buzz and excitement among Jazz fans concerning the possibility. Williams has been an electric scorer this year as he leads the Lakers with 18.6 points per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep.

The thought of utilizing the combo guard’s skills to patch up a weakness at the backup point guard spot and to fortify Utah’s inconsistent shooting guard play was one that had excited several Jazz fans across social media, including myself and others of us here at The J Notes.

Unfortunately, it turns out that excitement was very short-lived and has quickly turned into disappointment as, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, news broke today that the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a deal to send Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer and a first-round draft pick.

Not only is this somewhat disappointing for the Utah Jazz given that they apparently missed out on an opportunity to sign a player who could have been a major contributor to their second unit, but it feels even more painful given how little the Rockets were able to obtain him for.

Nearly all the previous reports indicated that LA was looking for a first-round draft pick, so that was clearly expected, but it seems like Utah (or several other teams for that matter), could have easily packaged together a first-round draft pick along with a player that would have been much more serviceable than journeyman Corey Brewer.

Don’t get me wrong, Brewer definitely has some redeeming qualities in that he carries a lot of veteran and playoff experience, is an ideal role player who gives his all while playing with an edge and he’s a good defender who is known for doing a lot of intangibles to help a team win.

But all that aside, he’s well past his prime, is a poor shooter (28.4 percent from deep for his career) and is having a very forgettable season this year with averages of just 4.2 points on 41.4 percent shooting from the field and 23.4 percent from deep along with two rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

Heck, I’d even be so bold as to say that Utah’s expendable Shelvin Mack would have been a better option with more upside for the Lakers than the aging and struggling Corey Brewer, and that’s saying something! Yet even a comparison of the two players’ numbers would back that up as well.

So who knows what exactly went on behind the scenes. Perhaps the Lakers and new president of basketball operations Magic Johnson are very high on Corey Brewer for some reason and like what he specifically will bring to the team. Perhaps Utah didn’t want to give up a player for Williams, or maybe their interest in him wasn’t as high as reported or as fans speculated.

Maybe the Jazz have other plans for Shelvin Mack in another potential deal or perhaps Utah decided its first-round pick was simply too valuable to include in that kind of trade. There’s undoubtedly several possible explanations for why the deal went down as it did and we may never know exactly why the Jazz didn’t end up bagging Sweet Lou.

Whatever the case, Lou Williams will now be playing for a highly competitive Western Conference foe and in all honesty, Utah could now end up facing him and his new Rockets team in the first round of the playoffs. Not exactly ideal for the Jazz in my mind.

Nevertheless, hopefully this “miss” on the part of the Jazz simply signifies that they have something even better in the works. There’s still several names floating around with potential connections to Utah such as James Johnson and P.J. Tucker, and with over a day left until the trade deadline, we could still see the Jazz make a significant move beforehand.

Or, then again, maybe we won’t. Lou Williams was one of the more exciting trade prospects that was connected to the Jazz, so perhaps the fact that they didn’t end up finalizing a deal for him means that Utah is looking to be more conservative and stand pat at the deadline this year. The fact that the Rockets acquired him with the lackluster trade pieces that they did certainly seems to back that up.

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So Lou Williams is off the board for the Utah Jazz, but you can bet that it will soon be replaced by even more rumors during this crazy time of year.

Thus, time will tell whether missing out on acquiring Williams was a precursor for a slow trade deadline for the Jazz or whether it just means that Utah has something else even more monumental up their sleeve.

All stats courtesy of NBA.com