Celtics Forward Labeled as ‘Biggest Flight Risk’ This Offseason

Multiple members of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Multiple members of the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics have put together one of the best rosters in the NBA this season, and in turn, they currently sit atop the league with a 42-17 record. But while they may be in a great position right now, everything can change at a moment’s notice.

This summer, Boston will be tasked with keeping their core together or risk losing crucial pieces of their championship puzzle. According to Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report, Grant Williams is the biggest “flight risk” on the Celtics.

“Any team with cap space and a paint-bound center would do well to throw a multiyear deal at Williams, who could space the floor and even slot in as a small-ball 5 against the right matchups,” Hughes wrote. “A “right place, right time” defender who can handle himself in space against guards and hold his ground inside, Williams could command an annual salary in the $20 million range. He’s valuable to Boston and could solidify his place in the team’s future with a strong postseason, but demand for his services will be high around the league.”

Despite a recent cold stretch, Williams has been putting up career numbers this year. He has appeared in 58 of the team’s 59 games this season and is playing 27.9 minutes per contest. Williams is averaging 8.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game on 46.4% shooting from the field and 41.4% shooting from behind the three-point line.

As noted by Hughes, if Williams performs well in the playoffs this year, it could seriously boost his value and force the Celtics to pay more than they may have wanted in order to keep him around.

Grant Williams Wants $20 Million Per Year

This past summer, the Celtics and Williams could not come to an agreement on a contract extension, meaning he will be a restricted free agent this offseason. And according to long-time NBA insider Marc Stein and his newsletter, The Stein Line, Williams is looking for a contract similar to the one the San Antonio Spurs gave Keldon Johnson – roughly $20 million.

“The Celtics, to no one’s surprise, did not trade Grant Williams,” Stein wrote. “Making minor tweaks was the understandable preference for the defending Eastern Conference champions when they ranked as the league’s only team with a win total in the 40s entering Monday’s play. Yet rumbles persist that various teams are monitoring the situation and curious about Williams’ future there. Williams is poised to become a restricted free agent this summer and said to be seeking a contract in the Keldon Johnson-in-San Antonio, $20-million-annually range.”

Celtics Should Be ‘Afraid’ of Grant Williams Offer

Earlier in the season, sources who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports said that the Celtics should be “afraid” of offers from other teams that could lure Williams away from them.

“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].”

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