Grant Williams may have priced himself off the Boston Celtics by denying a four-year, $50 million contract extension back before the 2022-23 season began. By passing up on what was a reasonable contract offer from the Cs as reported by Jared Weiss of The Athletic (subscription required), Williams has invited a poison pill deal from a rebuilding squad with cap space in need of complementary pieces.
Williams did what was best for his career, which is commendable. Still, Boston may not be able to afford his extension given the potential salary cap implications. Perhaps majority team owner Wyc Grousbeck’s edict that he wanted the team all-in this year is a resignation to the fact that certain players may not be coming back.
In the NBA, stars are the be-all and end-all. The franchise understands Jaylen Brown’s payday is coming in the summer of 2024 — and that’s said with decent confidence considering reports have relayed that Brown is all in on the Celtics long-term — so signing role players to deals that could eventually age into albatrosses may not be in the best interest of the front office.
Why the Boston Celtics would be overpaying Grant Williams on a more lucrative deal than the offer he turned down
In truth, even the $50 million offer the Boston Celtics offered Williams may have been an overpay. The Magic are getting Wendell Carter Jr. on the same deal, and the former lottery pick has never averaged less than double-digit points per game. Williams has never averaged more than 8.4 points per game and has also never cracked the starting lineup.
Boston has been a contender in three of the four seasons, making it tougher to get big minutes with one of the league’s best players (Jayson Tatum) often starting at his preferred power forward position, but the point stands: Williams is more unproven than players making the amount of money he turned down. As great as he has been in spurts, committing to those spurts in the long-haul is far from prudent.
Signing such deals isn’t the way Boston typically operates. The teams perennially at the bottom of the standings tend to overpay such players. The Celtics front office should simply let them if it gets to it.
As good as Williams is, Danilo Gallinari could likely contribute what he does while making less than half of what the 24-year-old is now expected to make.