One NBA executive believes that the pending free agency of Boston Celtics power forward Grant Williams might result in the Celtics losing him after his lack of postseason playing time.
Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com looked at the offseason challenges faced by the Celtics and noted how the potential strategy employed by Williams will be worth watching.
“I’m not the only one waiting to see how he approaches this,” said the executive, according to Bulpett. “He may look at those (five) DNPs in the playoffs and wonder about his future in Boston. Does he try to get an offer sheet structured to make it hard for Boston to match? I know there are teams that will be interested in helping that along.
“All I know is that he filled a number of different roles for them, and other teams are seeing the same thing. It’s going to be interesting to see how Boston deals with him, because it might say a lot about what they think they need to do to get past a playoff loss that never should have happened.”
Williams was taken by the Celtics in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. In his four seasons with the team, his statistical numbers have been relatively modest, but his contributions off the bench have been important.
The efforts by Williams may not appear to have a huge impact on the nightly box score, but they will likely put a dent in the Celtics’ balance sheet.
That’s because it’s seemingly inevitable that Williams will get a pretty lucrative deal when free agency begins this offseason. The Celtics’ efforts to come to an agreement with Williams may end up being circumvented if another team makes a determined bid for the forward.
Right now, the Celtics already have a major offseason contract extension decision to handle with small forward Jaylen Brown. Next season, Brown will enter the final year of his current deal and is guaranteed to make at least $28.5 million for the season.
The Celtics could end up extending Brown with a supermax deal that would pay him a little under $300 million over five seasons. If another team chooses to deliver an eye-popping offer sheet to Williams, that may result in a difficult decision for the Celtics.
Even if the Celtics are able to extend Brown for less, Williams may have second thoughts about staying with the team. Williams averaged 25.9 minutes per game during the 2022-23 regular season and then saw that playing time essentially cut in half during the team’s first two playoff series.
In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, Williams got 24.8 minutes per game.
It’s possible that some of Williams’ usage might have pertained to particular playoff matchups. Yet, the forward may now be questioning whether it might be time to depart.
Keeping Williams is no doubt on the list of things to do for the Celtics. Whether they can accomplish that feat without breaking the bank is something to be answered in the months ahead.