Magic Johnson Trades Lou Williams in First Move as Lakers President of Basketball Operations


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It didn't take long for newly minted president of basketball operations Magic Johnson to leave his mark on the Los Angeles Lakers.

On the day part owner Jeannie Buss fired general manager Mitch Kupchak and hired Johnson, the team turned around and dealt one of their best producers this season, reserve guard Lou Williams. LA sent Sweet Lou to the Houston Rockets for their 2017 first-round draft pick and swingman Corey Brewer.

Both players will earn roughly $7 million next season before entering free agency.

The move gives James Harden and the Rockets yet another scoring punch off the bench—they now possess the NBA's top two bench scorers in shooting guard Eric Gordon, who's averaging 17.2 points per game, and  Williams, who's putting up 18.6. Though Williams isn't helping anyone's defense.

As for the Lakers, they get to capitalize on a valuable asset that will help a contender much more than he'd help them, while simultaneously giving young guards D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson more playing time and increasing the likelihood that the team will get to keep its 2017 first-rounder, which goes to the Philadelphia 76ers if it doesn't fall in the top three during the lottery.

While the Lakers' return is solid, it's not spectacular. The Rockets have the fourth-best record in the NBA and will likely finish somewhere around there, meaning the draft pick won't be too far off from a second-rounder. It's interesting, and perhaps telling, that other teams in much more dire need of scoring off the bench—the Washington Wizards or Charlotte Hornets, say—weren't enticed or able to top the Rockets' offer.