Mo Williams wants an extension, but the Los Angeles Clippers would be wise to tune out his cries for commitment. There is finally something to cheer about if you're a Clippers fan, but the past week has been a bit rough. First, Chauncey Billups' Achilles injury, now this quote from Williams in T.J. Simmers' piece in the LA Times:
"“I just want to know where I stand with the Clippers,’ If you have a girlfriend and she tells you she loves you every day, obviously you know she loves you … the way (the Clippers) tell you they love you every day is by signing you to a contract extension.”
If I'm the Clippers general manager, Neil Olshey, I'm telling Williams "love is a crazy thing."
There is no way I'm extending Williams considering the direction the Clippers are headed. The team is primed for a period of perennial contention, and when the team acquired Chris Paul and Billups, Williams couldn't have been a part of their long-term plans.
He was a carryover from a deal designed to receive a productive player in exchange for Baron Davis' disastrous contract. Williams' skill set is better suited as a sixth man, backing up Paul, but he certainly isn't worth more than the $8.5 million he makes this year.
He is an undersized two-guard at heart. His career averages of 14 points, five assists scream poor-man's Jason Terry, but that isn't what the Clippers need most for the long haul. That role is especially underwhelming at the potential price tag.
How should the Clippers handle the Mo Williams situation?
Williams is a nice player, but the Clippers would be better served using his salary to lure an athletic two-guard to Lob City during the offseason.
This team has the three most important pieces in place in Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but they are built for the future; extending Williams would likely require an overpayment.
The Clippers must avoid overreacting to Williams' posturing. He is a Clipper for now, and he will get substantial time now that Billups is down. I expect he will fill in admirably, and it behooves him to play well with his future uncertain. He may, in fact, be auditioning for his next NBA city.
There are teams that have a need for a player like Williams. The Clippers' Staples Center co-resident, Los Angeles Lakers, are one team that would benefit from his services.
Williams will give the Clippers his best because it's in his best interest to shine. Therefore, the Clippers are in the driver's seat.
If Williams is still unhappy after this season, he has a player option for next year. He could choose to walk away from the $8.5 million option and take his chances on the free-agent market. If he does that and is able to land a multi-year deal, both parties win.
Williams gets his security, and the Clippers get the salary slot to improve an already-talented young core.
Williams wants a committed relationship, but smart money says the Clippers will agree to see other people.