INDIANAPOLIS Lou Williams has become instant offense off the bench for the Sixers. The seventh-year guard leads the Sixers in scoring with 14.9 points per game in a reserve role.
The Sixers have relied on Williams off-the-bench scoring, but the former-second round pick may not be back next season. According to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Williams will opt out of his contract at seasons end to become an unrestricted free agent.
Williams addressed his future on Saturday night and said his mind isnt made up yet.
I have thought about it slightly, Williams said. I really havent had a chance to reflect on the road ahead not at this point.
Williams is in the fourth year of a five-year contract, but he has the option to opt out of that final year. His situation is not unique. Deron Williams in New Jersey has already said he will exercise his option to get out of his deal and test free agency.
At seasons end, for a fourth time in his career Williams will average at least 11 points per game while averaging no more than 26 minutes. Dating back to the 1946-47 season, it has only happened 20 times. Williams, after this year, will have done it four times.
Leandro Barbosa, of the Pacers, is one of three players who have twice accomplished those numbers along with Bobby Jackson, formerly of Sacramento, and Dell Curry the once sharp-shooting Charlotte Hornet.
Williams, who was marvelous in the Sixers 109-106 overtime win at Indiana, is focused on the Sixers push to the postseason. There will be time to think about the future not too far down the road.
Logically, it would make sense for Williams to opt out and sign a long-term deal but that road is not mutually exclusive to him leaving the Sixers. The Sixers, like the other 29 teams in the league, would have the option to offer Williams a new contract.
I was excited at the time for management to take a chance on my future as opposed to the numbers I actually put up at the time, Williams said. They took a big chance on me and that is something I will be forever grateful for and it is one of the reasons I remain loyal to this team and for that deal to possibly be up this summer; its been a long time coming. I have been here for awhile so if the opportunity presents itself for both sides to sit down at the table then everybody I am sure will do their due diligence.
One thing that will not hinder the Sixers in luring Williams back, if in fact he makes that choice, is the fact that for the last two seasons he has come off the bench in every game.
I think I have proven that you dont have to start to have an impact on the team or be the go to guy at the end of games, Williams continued. Starting isnt really an Achilles heel for me anymore. It was something I wanted a couple years back because I thought it was a fine progression for me and a sign for me growing into a better player but now I have proven that I can do the same thing coming off the bench.
Saturday night Williams seven-point overtime and 19 points overall epitomized who he is and has come to mean to this franchise.