SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- As summer became fall in 2017, Lou Williams circulated the news within his closest friends and family members.
His career was over. Or about to be, anyway.
"I'm going to call it quits," he said.
Williams had shredded a knee ligament in 2013 with Atlanta, was told in 2014 by a coach in Toronto he'd never be the same and, following a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017, was on his fifth team in four seasons. Williams envisioned his 2017-18 season with the Clippers as "my own little secret farewell party."
Oh, how opponents across the league wish he'd stuck to his plan.
The Clippers guard Monday was named the league's top reserve for the second consecutive season and third time in his career, tying Jamal Crawford's all-time record.
Williams not only failed to fade into retirement that first season in Los Angeles, but he also began the best statistical stretch of his career, a run that continued this past season. He credits his resurgence to playing for Clippers coach Doc Rivers and within an organization that made him feel at home.
"I came to L.A. and I was in an environment where I felt revitalized," Williams said during the NBA's awards show in Santa Monica. "I felt I had something to prove."
Williams, 32, averaged 20 points in 26.6 minutes for the 48-win Clippers this season. On many nights his trademark jump shot, in which he dribbles and leans to his left, appears scouting report-proof.
Thoughts of retirement? Those have been shelved.