The Boston Celtics may be en route toward what they hope to be their 18 title in franchise history, but regardless of how the 2022-23 campaign ends, they’ll find themselves with some big questions that will be in need of answering come the offseason.
At this point in time, the biggest storyline for the franchise heading into this summer seems to be the impending free agency of forward Grant Williams. Though he has proven to be a vital part of this club’s core throughout his four-year tenure, one NBA executive seems to believe that there are three specific teams that could be in the running for his services on the open market.
“Orlando is the one that keeps coming up because that team is trying to turn a corner. Utah could make things difficult, too, because he has a relationship with Danny Ainge. There is not a lot of cap space out there, though, and that is going to be the tricky thing for Grant—how can he push the Celtics to give him a big offer if there is no one out there to give the Celtics something to match,” an Eastern Conference GM told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney.
“Indiana is one to watch, too. Remember, when DeAndre Ayton was in a bind and could not get an offer last year, the Pacers came through and pushed that over the finish line. Can that happen again here? Definitely. They want to play better defense and Williams helps them with that if they can clear the room to sign him. But even if they just lay out the offer that the Celtics have to match, that might be something they’re willing to do”
The big’s future with the franchise has been in question throughout the regular season, as he and the Celtics failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension. Heading into the offseason, it is rumored that Grant Williams is seeking an annual payday of around $20 million per year.
Celtics Big a ‘Medium-High’ Flight Risk
Doubling down on the anonymous executive’s fears that the Jazz, Magic, and Pacers could all be vying for Grant Williams’ services this summer, it appears Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley is also in the same camp that the big could wind up making an exit from the Celtics, as he views him as “medium-high” flight risk in free agency.
“You sort of get the sense both he and Boston might be ready for a change, though this probably comes down to price,” Buckley wrote. “If outside suitors don’t hold his second-half slide too much against him, he could fetch a number the Shamrocks have no interest in matching.”
Despite his struggles late in the season and, for the most part, being pulled from significant action within Joe Mazzulla‘s rotation during this year’s postseason run, Grant Williams has established himself as a high-energy, 3-and-D big man who can help any number of teams with his on-court abilities.
Through 79 games played in 2022-23, the 24-year-old is posting averages of 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 39.5% from deep.
Ime Udoka Issues Statement on Celtics Exit
During his press conference with the franchise, unsurprisingly his unceremonious exit from his former role as the head coach of the Celtics was discussed and, when asked during the Q&A segment of the presser what he could say about his split from the organization, Udoka owned up to his actions and noted that he’s attempted to make amends with those he negatively impacted.
“I released a statement months ago when everything happened and apologized to a lot of people for the tough position I put them in and I stand by that. I feel much more remorse even now toward that. I spent this last offseason working on myself in a lot of different ways, improving in areas, a chance to sit back and reflect and go and I think that will make me a better coach and overall a better leader. But the matter’s been resolved and I can’t really speak much about it,” Ime Udoka said about his parting from the Celtics.
Two months ago, Ime Udoka and the Celtics severed ties with one another due to “violations of team policies.”
Now, the head man heads to Space City with a 51-31 career regular season record and a 14-10 record in the playoffs.