Last summer, Williams and the Celtics’ front office could not reach an agreement on a potential contract extension. Now, the versatile forward will become a restricted free agency once the season wraps up.
When speaking to HoopsHype’s Sam Yip, Williams was asked about his upcoming foray into the free agency market, leading to a response that his focus was on winning a championship and that everything else could wait until Boston’s season reaches a conclusion.
“Nah, you got to focus on today, brother,” Williams said. “You can’t focus on tomorrow, can only focus on what’s in front of you. For me, it’s always been about playing to the best ability that I can and winning as many titles as I can while I’m here. So after that, whatever happens, this free agency cycle, that’ll be determined this summer after, hopefully, we got the ring in my hand. So that’s the main priority. No. 1 is focused on getting this ring first.”
Williams has had an inconsistent season this year, starting off strong and showing improvements to his scoring repertoire before slumping through the second half of the year. However, if Boston is going to make a deep playoff run, they will need the Tennessee alum’s versatile defense to make it past some of the league’s elite bigs and forwards.
Jayson Tatum Believes Celtics Are Ready to Win
After losing in the 2022 NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors in six games, Tatum believes the Celtics have learned from the experience and are now ready to mount a series challenge this year.
“Experience is the best teacher, Tatum said. “This group, (what) we’ve been through over his last two years, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve accomplished a lot and we’ve failed and we’ve failed together. And essentially, we worked all offseason, and preseason, and had a great regular season. I know we got one more game (left), but to get to this point, to get back to the playoffs, to get another opportunity and another shot. This is the moment that we have been waiting for, been working for.”
Tatum, 25, has been electric this season, finishing the basketball year with a statline of 30.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 46.6% from the field and 35% from deep.
Kendrick Perkins Warns of Miami Heat Risk
In recent seasons, the Miami Heat have been one of the premier Eastern Conference teams, courtesy of the indomitable will of Jimmy Butler. Yet, as their roster has aged, the Heat have struggled to produce to their usual high level and now find themselves fighting for a playoff spot against the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in tournament.
When speaking on an April 7 episode of ESPN’s First Take, former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins warned of the risk a wounded Heat team could pose to Boston in the first round.
“What I am concerned about is that if the Miami Heat get the seventh seed they’re going to match up with the Boston Celtics, which I believe is gonna happen. We saw what happened last year…they were a Jimmy Butler 3-pointer away from actually getting sent home,” Perkins said. “If I’m the Celtics, I’m praying that I don’t see Jimmy Butler…and the Miami Heat in the first round. If I’m the Celtics, I’m praying that I don’t have to see Erik Spoelstra matched up with Joe Mazzulla in the first round when it comes down to adjustments and things of that nature…I’m telling you this right now, it will be upset alert if the Miami Heat get the seventh seed and they have to play Boston in the first round.”
Regardless of how the Celtics will face in the first round, they’re going to have a tough route to the Finals this year, with potential matchups against the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks awaiting, as such, Boston fans will be hoping their team can find a new gear in the coming weeks.