Grant Williams sounds off on Joe Mazzulla after Boston Celtics exit

Former Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Former Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

It’s been just under two weeks since news broke of Grant Williams leaving the Boston Celtics via sign-and-trade. On July 5, multiple reports surfaced indicating that Williams was joining the Dallas Mavericks.

The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach recently caught up with the 24-year-old. He detailed a conversation where Williams opened up about his departure from the Celtics. One of the main talking points was his relationship with Boston’s head coach Joe Mazzulla.

“The thing is, professionally you can always have different opinions, different outlooks about yourself and the team,” Williams said, per Himmelsbach. “But personally that bond never changes. I’m going to be there for him and his family and his sons any day that they need me. Personally, I always will love him as a friend. Although it may not have gone how we both expected this season, we still have a ton of respect for one another. So I’ll always speak highly of him because he deserves it. He’s a good man and a good coach.”

Joe Mazzulla left Grant Williams out of Boston Celtics’ rotation

The reason why Williams’ take on his former head coach is so interesting is because of the way his role diminished towards the end of the regular season. No. 12 had been getting regular minutes for the majority of the 2022-23 campaign, before bouncing in and out of the rotation in March.

Back in June, The Athletic’s Jay King and Jared Weiss revealed that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown wound up having to convince Mazzulla to start playing Williams again.

“Several veterans wondered why the coaching staff went away from Grant Williams, who had a significant role in slowing down Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Bam Adebayo on the way to the Finals last season. Still, in early March, he received his first DNP-CD since the 2020-21 season. Williams’ playing time was sporadic from that point forward and he again fell out of the rotation when the playoffs began… But the team’s veterans believed Williams would be crucial in the playoffs, so Tatum and Brown met with Mazzulla in early March to implore him to put Williams back into the rotation, team sources told The Athletic.”

Williams joins the Mavericks on a four-year, $53 million contract, after four seasons with the Celtics.

For more on Grant Williams’ exit from the Boston Celtics, check out a recent episode of the How ‘Bout Them Celtics Podcast, where CelticsBlog’s Jack Simone and I discuss the big move.