Lou Williams was never one to pay attention to trade rumors. Corey Brewer didn’t think he’d have to this year.
On Tuesday afternoon the two players were part of the same deal, less than 48 hours before the NBA’s trade deadline. The Lakers, most likely lottery-bound, agreed to send shooting guard Williams to the playoff-bound Houston Rockets in exchange for small forward Brewer and a future first-round draft pick.
“I’ve been traded before so I’m used to it, but it’s good,” Brewer said. “L.A.’s a great city. It’s a great organization. Hopefully I can come and contribute [to] getting the team back to where they want to be, that’s a winner.”
Like Williams, Brewer has a year left on his contract after this season. Williams is to be paid $7 million each season; Brewer will make $7.61 million this season and $7.58 million next season.
Magic Johnson, promoted earlier in the day to president of basketball operations, negotiated the deal, his first trade in his new role with the Lakers.
“Our untouchables are our young talent right now,” Johnson said. “We’ve already let everybody know that. We want to hang onto our young talent. People have been calling for it but we’ve been saying no. And then they’ve been asking about a lot of other players as well.”
Johnson said he got more calls about Williams than any other player.
Williams was the Lakers’ leading scorer, averaging 18.6 points per game, and had served as somewhat of a closer for the team. He ranks fifth in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring with 7.7 points per game, trailing only Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.
Still, the Lakers, 19-39 this season, were only 1-8 in games in which Williams scored 25 points or more.
This is Brewer’s 10th season in the NBA. He entered the league as the seventh overall draft pick in 2007, following a college career that included two NCAA championships at the University of Florida.
Brewer spent almost four seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves before being traded to the New York Knicks. He was part of the three-team deal that sent Carmelo Anthony from Denver to New York in February 2011. The Knicks waived Brewer shortly thereafter.
He played for the Dallas Mavericks, the Nuggets and the Timberwolves again in the next three seasons. In December 2014, Minnesota traded Brewer to Houston. He averaged 11.9 points in 56 games with the Rockets that season, mostly as a reserve. He shot 42.9% from the field and 28.4% from three-point range.
Last season Brewer played in all 82 games for the Rockets, starting 12, and averaged 7.2 points per game.
After the Rockets practiced Tuesday, General Manager Daryl Morey and Coach Mike D’Antoni met with Brewer to tell him he’d been traded. As happens with trades, Brewer scrambled to figure out what was next for him, and when he had to move.
“It’s a lot of talent,” Brewer said of the Lakers’ roster. “Lot of young guys that can really play. They’re up and coming. Coach [Luke] Walton’s a very good coach. Hopefully I can come help the culture and keep it going up. Whatever they want me to do, I’m comfortable with.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli