Tue, Mar 30, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
A veteran of 16 NBA seasons, Lou Williams seriously considered retirement after he was traded by the Los Angeles Clippers to the Atlanta Hawks for Rajon Rondo. It took one week for Williams to finally join his new team prior to the Hawks' game with the Phoenix Suns.
Williams spent the last four seasons with the Clippers.
"It hurts," he said on a videoconference call with reporters. "I had a lot of investment there. We had some success. We were gearing up for another deep run, a championship run. That was my mentality. I thought I would finish the season there."
Williams took a lot of time to himself and to think about his career. He came to the realization that he could help the young lineup in Atlanta make a playoff push. If the Hawks make the playoffs this season it would be the first time since 2017.
"I still feel like I can play at a high level," the combo guard said. "I feel like I can help this team do some things. I don't want to look back and say I retired prematurely, be asking myself what could have been or what I could've done. This is an opportunity to finish out the season with this team and go from there."
The Hawks are led by interim head coach Nate McMillan. He took over for Lloyd Pierce after Atlanta struggled out of the gate. Since McMillan took over the Hawks have won nine of their last 13 games, propelling them towards the top of their division and right in the thick of a tight Eastern Conference race.
The Hawks hope that Williams will be a scoring presence off of the bench. He has won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award three times in his career. In 42 games with the Clippers this year he averaged 12.1 points per game.
Williams is not expected to be in the lineup against the Suns tonight as he wants to meet all of his teammates first and observe one game.
"I want to get an understanding of how they play," he said. "See their sets, get a feel for their rotations, understand how this group of guys mesh, see where I might fit. It would be unfair to this group of guys to just throw me out there."
Williams will make his home debut against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
He grew up in the Atlanta area and went to South Gwinnett High School.
"It took me few days to get here," he said. "Once I arrived, I wanted the energy to be positive, I wanted the experience to be positive. I didn't want the guys to look at me like I didn't want to be here.
"It's not personal against the Hawks," Williams added. "I just needed time to figure out what's best for me at this stage of my career. Now that I'm here, I feel embraced. The guys seem to want me here. I'm ready to make this push and move forward."