Robert Williams was exceptional for the Boston Celtics last season, becoming one of their most consistent players and anchoring a league-leading defense following his move to a free-safety role in the new year.
As such, it’s understandable that the Louisiana native would be one of the Celtics’ most coveted stars, irrespective of his concerning injury history, because the fact remains, when healthy, Williams is one of the best rim protectors in the NBA.
In fact, you couldn’t blame the Brooklyn Nets if they decided to demand Williams as part of the Kevin Durant trade package, should Boston decide to return to the negotiating table. However, according to a report by NBC Sport’s Kurt Helin, the Celtics have made it clear that Robert Williams is ‘off the table’ in any trade discussions.
“There’s good reason for pessimism, Durant’s ultimatum to Nets owner Joe Tsai did not light a fire under trade talks. If anything, it made it far less likely a deal gets done in the short term. — why would Boston improve its offer now? It robbed the Nets of leverage. For example, Brooklyn was trying to get Boston to put Smart in the trade, but why would they even consider it now? That said, even without Smart (or Robert Williams III, sources told NBC Sports he is not available), a Celtics offer with Jaylen Brown may be the best one the Nets will see,” Helin wrote on August 10.
Williams’ performances this past season were so impressive that they catapulted the fourth-year big man into the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team, vindicating Brad Stevens’ decision to provide the young six-foot-eight center with a contract extension before the season began.
Celtics Considered Leading Team for Kevin Durant Trade
Even when removing Robert Williams from negotiations, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Celtics have the best possible trade package for Durant – at least out of the interested parties.
A deal including Jaylen Brown and Derrick White could potentially be enough to convince Brooklyn to part with their superstar if Durant continues to apply pressure in the background. Of course, Brooklyn would probably want to receive Marcus Smart in any potential trade, but given Durant’s reported interest in playing with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, it might be a smart move for the Celtics to stand strong on their stance of not trading him.
According to an August 9 report by The Atheltic’s Shams Charania on an episode of the Pat McAfee show, Boston is currently the leading candidate for acquiring Durant but is not inclined to blow up their roster to get the deal done.
“When you look at the landscape, the Celtics are probably a leading team for Kevin Durant when you look at the pieces that they have. (They have) Jaylen Brown, (they’re) able to add draft picks, other players. If Brooklyn goes that direction, you want as much as you can get, and that includes Marcus Smart, draft picks, which right now, from what I’m told, Boston’s not inclined to do,” Charania said.