When the Atlanta Hawks traded away veteran guard Lou Williams, he was given a fresh start and jumped at the opportunity.

Williams claims he became a Toronto Raptors fan even before the swap, and says he’s excited about joining a franchise that values him. From the team website (and SLAM homie Holly MacKenzie):

“I think one of the best benefits of it is being in a position where you feel wanted,” Williams said. “When they traded for me and had the conversation, they want me here. It wasn’t a money thing. It wasn’t just something to do. They felt they had a void they needed to fill coming off the bench and I’m excited to help. I feel wanted. I feel like I have a responsibility with this basketball team and that’s the best way I can operate.”

 

No-nonsense and to-the-point, Williams was impressed as much by the passion shown by the Raptors front office as he was by the team’s play during that series against the Nets. Laughing as he thought back to Toronto’s Game 1 experience, he couldn’t resist sharing a moment that endeared him to his current general manager, Masai Ujiri, even if it wasn’t a popular move with the league’s head office.

 

“Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I was really excited about the message Masai sent out,” he said. “I was like, ‘That’s pretty dope.’ For once, someone actually spoke their mind. That was interesting to me. Someone actually said, ‘I’m concerned with our team, our organization. I want us to win, I don’t care about anyone else.’ I really liked that message.”