NBA Atlanta Hawks

Philadelphia 76ers Lou Williams Set To Opt-Out, Test Free Agency

One of the many surprises of this NBA season was the play of the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that finished 41-41 in 2010-2011, who led the Atlantic Division for much of the season. But the 76ers ultimately lost in the 1st round to the Boston Celtics and now, just like 27 other teams in the NBA (three are still in the playoffs), it is time for them to rebuild. One of the 76ers first targets will be their key bench player Lou Williams.

Williams came off the bench this past season for the 76ers and played extremely well averaging 14.9 points, 3.5 assists, and 0.8 steals per game. Williams has a 5.35 million player option for next season, though and it is widely expected that he will test free-agency. There has been much speculation that Williams will test free-agency, seeing if he can possibly get starter type money from, either the 76ers, or another team who is interested in his services.

Certainly the 76ers will try to re-sign Williams but, with him being an unrestricted free-agent, if a team is desperate for a scorer off the bench, (particularly the Los Angeles ClippersDallas Mavericks, and Orlando Magic come to mind as teams needing scoring off the bench), they might pay the type of money the 76ers can’t match. The Clippers will have some money to spend in free-agency and, if the Magic can unload the contract of Hedo Turkoglu they will have money to go after Williams.

But the Mavericks, if they are interested in signing Williams (as there has not really been a front-runner to pursue him), will be one of the few teams with a lot of money to spend. The Mavericks goal in free-agency though, is not Lou Williams but Deron Williams, a native of Dallas. The Mavericks are hoping that Deronwould like to come play for his hometown team but the odds of that are slim as, according to some information,Deron has the New Jersey Nets first on his list, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, with the Mavericks a distant third.

So getting back to the point of this article, Lou Williams, it seems that, unless the 76ers are ready to fork out a big sum of cash, they will be losing Williams via free-agency.