Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams has been an important member for the club over the past three seasons, but head coach Doc Rivers wasn't exactly thrilled when the team first acquired him in the Chris Paul blockbuster deal.
"When we traded for Lou, I was not having Lou," Rivers said on the latest episode of "The Bob Ryan and Jeff Goodman podcast." "I saw a guy that kept getting traded. And I appreciated his offense but never thought it was this good. ... When he finally showed up three days before training camp, I was not having him. I was like, 'We're not gonna work (out).'"
Rivers asked all his players to arrive well ahead of the Clippers' scheduled training camp dates, yet Williams was the only player not to do so. At that point, the 58-year-old figured Williams was already a lost cause and invited him into his office to express his displeasure.
The three-time Sixth Man of the Year responded to Rivers' doubts with questions of his own.
"(Lou) said, 'Well, I've been traded five years in a row. Why would I buy in to you?' ... I didn't have an answer at that point because I wasn't buying him yet," Rivers said. "I said, 'Listen, if you do the things that I need you to do, I guarantee you that you can make this a home.'
"I told him, 'If you look through my coaching career, I've always had a guy that came off the bench that I've tried to use as firepower. I will give you complete freedom offensively. I will never question your shots as long as on defense, you're in the right place,'" Rivers added.
Williams has played arguably his best basketball with the Clippers, averaging 20.6 points and 5.4 assists across 214 appearances for Los Angeles.
The 33-year-old won back-to-back Sixth Man of the Year awards in 2018 and 2019, setting career highs in assists in each of his first two seasons with the team while cracking the 20-points-per-game mark for the first time. He has also formed a devastating pick-and-roll tandem with Montrezl Harrell on the club's second unit.
Last season, Williams passed Dell Curry as the NBA's all-time leader in points off the bench.