After spending his first four NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics, Grant Williams will be suiting up for a new team next year, as he joined the Dallas Mavericks as part of a sign-and-trade back on July 5.
Williams discussed what went into his decision to leave Boston, during his July 21 appearance on The Old Man and The Three podcast.
“I had a pretty good understanding from the start that I probably wasn’t [going back],” Williams said. “You know, like even just before free agency even happened — before Kristaps [Porzingis] and we made the trade — I was like ‘I probably won’t be back.’ Not because of anything bad or anything like that. It was just more so opportunity elsewhere and also where I wanted to see myself in my career and how it was going. I want to win, but I also want to compete and impact winning and be a value to a team, both on and off the floor. I thought I had that a little bit in Boston. Then the role was a little bit diminished/up and down in that last year and I was coming back to a situation where I was going to be in a similar position, probably. And then you add in Kristaps and that made it almost a 100% guarantee that I’d be moving.”
Williams lack of faith in his spot in the Celtics’ rotation is justified. Towards the end of last season, he found himself racking up DNP-Coach’s Decision’s, seemingly out of nowhere. It got to the point where Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had to go to bat for him, according to The Athletic’s Jay King and Jared Weiss.
“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.”
Will the Boston Celtics miss Grant Williams?
Williams cited his uncertain role as a driving force behind his departure. Though Williams was likely going to be on the sidelines far more than he’d be on the floor in Boston, that doesn’t mean that he won’t be missed.
More specifically, the former Tennessee star could’ve been an integral part of the Celtics’ future. As 37-year-old Al Horford continues to age, the team will face more and more questions about how they’ll fill his role. Not necessarily the role he’s played since rejoining the team in 2021 — starting games and being a key cog in Boston’s machine– but rather the role he’ll take on in years to come, perhaps providing shooting with size off the bench.
Williams has filled that role with the Celtics pretty much since entering the league. He’d undoubtedly be a great fit for it in the future. The problem was that he didn’t want to wait around for the opportunity, which is completely fair.
Boston’s former No. 12 appeared in 288 total games for the for the Celtics, starting 58 times. He averaged 6.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game, while shooting 45.1% from the field and 37.9% from beyond the arc. Williams also made an impact on the defensive end, taking on numerous tough assignments, like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.