Nets’ Mikal Bridges Sends Recruiting Pitch to Celtics’ Big Man: ‘We Need You’

Brooklyn Nets

Getty Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics.

Perhaps in an act that shows his staying power in New York, Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges put on his recruiter’s cap.

His target? Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams.

Williams, 24, averaged 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while knocking down 39.5% of his threes this past season but saw his role reduced in the postseason until Boston reached the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.

But Williams’ future in Boston is far from certain.

In a conversation with Heavy Sports NBA insider Steve Bulpett, one rival league executive explained that Williams could have been turned off by losing his spot in the rotation.

“All I know is that he filled a number of different roles for them, and other teams are seeing the same thing,” the exec tells Heavy Sports. “It’s going to be interesting to see how Boston deals with him, because it might say a lot about what they think they need to do to get past a playoff loss that never should have happened.”

As former Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks noted, it could come down to dollars.

The non-taxpayer midlevel exception is worth $12.2 million, per Spotrac. That is a reasonable amount for a player that can contribute in the many ways Williams can.

For Brooklyn, however, even getting there could prove tricky.

Breaking Down Brooklyn’s Books

The Nets are set to be roughly $15.5 million below the luxury tax line where they will need to stay if they want to offer that nontaxpayer MLE to Williams. But their own restricted free agent, Cameron Johnson, figures to eat up that space and then some. Based on the latest reports, the Nets are prepared to do what it takes to keep him in the fold.

Brooklyn personnel has indicated the Nets’ plan to match any realistic offer sheet for the restricted free agent, ” reported Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer on June 6.

That is certainly in line with general manager Sean Marks’ comments during his exit interview.

It could get expensive quickly.

“A 6-foot-8 wing who can shoot 40 percent from deep with solid defense will command top dollar,” wrote Brian Lewis of the New York Post on March 11. “Sources say his floor is $18 million annually, and could easily top $20 million.”

Brooklyn can always move a few of their veterans – both Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale are believed to be available.

Brooklyn could also have other ideas on targets than an undersized forward.

Nets ‘Best Fit’ for Suns’ Chris Paul

Buzz over the news of the Phoenix Suns’ plans to release point guard Chris Paul was quickly stunted by follow-up reports that they are exploring other options. Regardless of what happens, one bit of fallout from the ordeal was NBA on TNT reporter Jared Greenberg name-dropping Brooklyn as a potential “best fit” for Paul.

Bridges, Johnson, and Paul were all teammates on the Suns for two-plus seasons before the latter two were shipped to Brooklyn in a package including Jae Crowder and a handful of draft picks for Kevin Durant at the trade deadline.

Phoenix’s offensive rating ranked in the 99th percentile when all three were on the floor together this season, per Cleaning The Glass.

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