Almost everything has gone right for the Boston Celtics this season. They lay claim to the best offensive rating in the NBA this year (and in NBA history) and also sit at 18-4 on the season, giving them the best record in the Eastern Conference (and the league).
However, before the season began, they were in the news due to their ongoing extension talks with Grant Williams. Since they never got a deal done, Williams will be a restricted free agent this summer. According to sources who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, the Celtics should be “afraid” of a big offer.
“I would be afraid of a big, front-loaded offer for Williams,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “Something that tails downward. He does not want to leave Boston, and they don’t want to lose him, but if it comes to it and someone gives him a deal that starts at $20 million and descends from there, can the Celtics match that? Probably not. But is any team going to be willing to give Grant Williams that kind of money? Probably not. There will be teams that could, but the Celtics are going to match anything that is in the ballpark of $15 million or so per [year].”
Williams has been having a phenomenal season so far this year. The 24-year-old forward has appeared in 21 of the Celtics’ 22 games this season. He’s averaging 8.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on 52.0% shooting from the floor and 44.2 shooting from behind the three-point line.
Celtics in a ‘Tough Spot’ Next Offseason
With Williams set to enter restricted free agency, the Celtics will be able to match any offer that he gets. However, they could be put in a tough spot if a team offers him a big-time offer.
Boston extended big man Al Horford on a two-year, $20 million deal, and according to Brian Robb of MassLive, that deal could impact their willingness to re-sign Williams for a huge price.
“Williams is still a vital part of the Celtics rotation but the team will likely feel less of an urgency to overpay for him in his next deal after getting Horford under contract for the next two seasons even after Williams’ strong start to this year,” Robb wrote. “The truth for Williams is that the restricted free agent market is generally a tough spot for a role player like him given the limited cap room available for other teams to spend and an unwillingness for teams to put out offer sheets that could tie up their flexibility.”
Horford Deal Could Help Williams
On the flip side, with Horford taking a huge pay cut, the Celtics could potentially afford to pay Williams a heftier salary, according to other sources who spoke to Heavy Sports.
“Obviously they know they are going to be a tax team next year and probably for the next few years,” an Eastern Conference exec told Deveney. “The goal for them when it comes to that (the luxury tax) is to keep it where it is. So, you look at Horford and Williams, combined, and figure that is what they want to spend on those two guys next year, not more than what they are getting this year. Now, there is more of an idea what they’re dealing with. Grant Williams could be one of the winners with this.”
Needless to say, there will be some interesting decisions to make this offseason for the Celtics.