The majority of the Boston Celtics’ nucleus is under contract for a few seasons. The lone player who is not — assuming that Jaylen Brown is extended this summer — is Grant Williams. Williams’ rookie-contract expires on July 1, making him a restricted free agent, which means that Boston can match any deal he is offered. According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, the Indiana Pacers may be a threat to pry the 24-year-old away from the C’s.
“The Pacers are expected to be one team in the mix for restricted free agent Grant Williams as well,” Fischer wrote.
Fischer also mentioned that Indiana is looking to add a power forward this offseason, whether it’s through the draft, trade, or signing Williams. Again, Boston ultimately controls his fate this summer. But, that doesn’t mean that they necessarily will want to match whatever offer he may receive.
The Pacers are projected to have over $27 million in cap space this summer, according to Spotrac. It’s tough to imagine Indiana throwing the entire $27 million at Williams, but they could realistically offer up to $20 million, a number that Williams was reportedly looking for during extension talks before last season.
According to The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, Boston’s No. 12 turned down a four-year, $50 million offer from the C’s last fall.
“Williams’ representatives and the team discussed an extension before the season that could have reached the low-$50 million range over four seasons but could not agree on the guarantee structure, league sources with knowledge of the negotiations said,” Weiss reported back in March.
What should the Boston Celtics do with Grant Williams?
The future of Williams is one of the bigger decisions that the Boston Celtics’ front office has to make this summer.
On one hand, it sounds pretty stupid to cough up a hypothetical $20 million contract for a guy who averaged 8.1 points per game this season. Of course, there are more aspects to his game than just scoring, he can defend, plus he seems to be well-liked by his teammates in a weird-annoying little brother type of way.
Brown and Jayson Tatum reportedly went to bat for Williams when he wasn’t seeing the floor as much late in the season. The two approached head coach Joe Mazzulla and convinced him that Williams was important to Boston’s success.
It ultimately makes sense for the Celtics to bring Williams back if for no other reason than they can. Since the Cs were the team that drafted him, they have bird rights, allowing them to exceed the salary cap to re-sign Williams.
That’s money that they wouldn’t be able to spend anywhere else, so why not spend it now and then trade Williams later if they decide they don’t want him anymore? If his contract is somewhat large it could actually be a good thing. It would allow Boston more flexibility in trades if they target an expensive player since they’d have an easier route to matching salary.