NBA Free Agents 2012: Los Angeles Lakers Must Sign Lou Williams

Kurt SaundersCorrespondent IIIJuly 6, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 21: Lou Williams #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts after scoring against the Miami Heat during the first half of game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Center on April 21, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers should be exhausting all options to acquire Lou Williams.  He's the only free agent available that solves L.A.'s most glaring issues—bench scoring, youth, and three-point shooting.  

Early this morning, Philadelphia 76ers guard Lou Williams let the Twitter world know that he will not be returning to Philadelphia next season.  

Philly, I appreciate you all. Unfortunately I will not be coming back, as an organization they decided to move in a different direction.

— Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) July 6, 2012

A few weeks ago, Williams opted out of the final year of his contract that would have paid him $6.39 million. Obviously, he feels he deserves more as he is coming off one of the best season's of his career.

A league source told Philadelphia Daily News' Bob Conley that Williams is seeking a contract similar to that of Thaddeus Young's five-year, $43 million deal.   

Williams brings a unique set of skills to the court.  He is comfortable and willing to come off the bench—he started zero of the 64 games he played in this past season—and he is one of the few players who can come into a game at any point and fill it up. 

His 14.9 points per game last season was the highest of his seven-year career and helped him finish second in Six Man of the Year voting, behind James Harden. 

Possible suitors include the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, among others, as they are both desperate for young, backcourt scoring.  

The Mavericks lost both Jason Kidd and Jason Terry to the Knicks and Celtics respectively, and Williams would be a perfect replacement for Terry.  They also have tons of cap room to make Williams a lucrative offer.  

Before addressing why the Lakers should sign Williams, let me preface it by saying that it is highly unlikely due to the Lakers' lack of cap space.  However, we've seen less likely things come to fruition over the years.   

The Lakers, after acquiring Steve Nash on Wednesday, should be looking to get more athletic to take advantage of Nash's fast-break ability.  Williams would be able to join Nash in the backcourt and slide Kobe Bryant over to the three, providing Nash with another athletic scoring option. 

After the Nash acquisition, the Lakers' biggest issue became bench scoring.  The Lakers' bench was dead last in scoring last season, putting up just over 20 points per game. Williams would instantaneously fix that problem.  He's a very gifted scorer and has the ability to play point guard as well as shooting guard, a valuable option for a cash-strapped team like the Lakers.  

Williams would also help solve L.A.'s three-point shooting woes. He's an above-average three-point shooter—shot 36 percent from deep last season—and has proven to be a terrific clutch scorer. The Lakers know about Williams' late-game abilities all too well—he torched L.A. for 14 fourth-quarter points in February.

Imagine a game-finishing lineup of Nash, Williams, Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum—three clutch scorers and two viable low-post threats.  Such a lineup would be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams.

Lakers fans should be wishing Mitch Kupchak somehow finds a way to bring in Williams, he's the one free agent that solves a multitude of the Lakers' problems.