6. Grant Williams sign-and-trade
Facilitated sign-and-trade of Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for two second-round picks and one second-round pick swap
The Boston Celtics didn’t have to trade Grant Williams. He was a restricted free agent, which meant that the Celtics could have matched any contract he signed. They also had plenty of leverage in negotiations, and all the reporting is that he would have gladly signed a reasonable deal to return.
At some point, however, the Celtics decided the way that they wanted to save money was by not re-signing Grant Williams. That seems like an inexplicable decision given his combination of defensive chops and knockdown shooting. Adding Kristaps Porzingis made it a crowded frontcourt, but in a year or two when Al Horford retires (or a month or two when Robert Williams III is injured), they’re going to wish they had Grant around.
What makes it worse is that not only was this a blatant cost-saving maneuver, they punted on any pathways to making this year’s team better. Williams signed for a below-market deal the Celtics absolutely should have matched, but then they didn’t even get value back for him because they didn’t want any salary, letting the San Antonio Spurs get a valuable future pick swap and a useful wing in Reggie Bullock.
The Celtics are going to be incredibly expensive; they should have leaned into that reality to maximize this team right now; they’re good enough to contend, and Williams would have helped them do so. Barring that, Reggie Bullock and a valuable unprotected pick swap would have helped too. Instead, they saw a good homegrown player walk out of the door for a couple of peanuts.