Boston Celtics big man Robert Williams III was pitched as a potential trade target for the Houston Rockets, and by extension, fired former Cs head coach Ime Udoka, by Space City Scoop’s Anthony Duckett. According to Duckett, it “wouldn’t be much of a surprise” to see the Rockets pursue the Time Lord.
“Rockets head coach Ime Udoka knows what Williams is capable of, perhaps better than most, as he was the Celtics’ coach that season,” Duckett prefaced before saying, “And much has been made about Udoka’s desire to improve defensively. With that being said, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the Rockets set their sights on Williams, who makes an average of just $12.4 million over the next three seasons.”
Williams is a bargain on most rosters, but he takes away from Boston’s precious cap flexibility in the new tax-punitive salary cap climate if he isn’t healthy. Houston has the means to facilitate Williams’ deal if he needs time off. Every roster spot counts for the Celtics with the front office devoting so much cap space to Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, for the time being, Malcolm Brogdon, and down the line, Derrick White.
Who Boston Celtics could target on the Rockets in Robert Williams III scenario
Perusing the Rockets’ cap sheet in the hypothetical of Boston and Houston do engage on a Williams deal, there are several names that could be of interest for the Cs after December 15: Jock Landale and Jeff Green. Both make over $4 million less than Williams and especially in Green’s case, offer more offensively.
Sure, the defense would take a hit without the Time Lord, but the presence of Porzingis may already be something that’ll keep Williams off the floor for him to change the game as much as he could elsewhere. If Houston isn’t winning with the combination of Jabari Smith and Alperen Sengun in the frontcourt, the latter would get the axe for a better-fitting center for the former’s skill set. Enter No. 44.
Williams could likely fetch a better offer from elsewhere for a team desperate enough for that final piece, but the Rockets definitely do have the feel of a potential next destination for the Time Lord.