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Clippers’ Lou Williams explains why American players don’t want to play in Canada

Lou Williams, Clippers

Recently crowned three-time Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers came on Gilbert Arenas’ No Chill Podcast to explain why it’s tough for the Toronto Raptors to retain American players, as it could be the case with Kawhi Leonard in the coming days.

Williams noted that the lack of familiarity and the feeling of playing overseas can be a little much for guys that are homesick and envisioned settling down in the United States.

“The problem they’re gonna have is keeping guys there,” said Williams. “Once you’re there, you’ll love playing for the Raptors, you’ll love playing for the country, ’cause it’s [basically] the whole country. The that fourth, fifth month of the season you’re like goddamn, I wanna go home.

“When you play in Toronto, you feel like you’re playing overseas. It feels like it. You can’t wait to go on the road sometimes, just to be in America. It’s little things you don’t think of like the channels on your TV, your phone bill, you have to get like a Canadian bank account. Things you don’t really think about. And then you have kids and you’re raising your kids out in Canada. Once you’re there, you’re like ‘oh, this is dope’ — but the hard thing is keeping guys.”

This might be down to Williams’ personal opinion, but others like DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have managed to stay for long periods of time and re-sign with the team. President Masai Ujiri said earlier this week that he was comfortable in Toronto, raising his children, who are Canadian, and his wife — also Canadian — in The Six.

Williams’ words might be true for younger players who are still somewhat homesick, but the rest of adjustments are merely part of being a pro, and many others have had to eke out a living in China, Greece, or other countries where English isn’t spoken — just to play the game they love.

It’s worth noting Williams won his first ever SMOY award in his lone year as a Raptor in the 2014-15 season.