“Grant was one of those guys I mentioned [to the front office],” Irving told reporters. “He was a big piece in those Boston series when we played at Brooklyn. He made it difficult for us. He wasn’t the only one, obviously, but he was doing the intangibles out there. And I think he was looking for a bigger role somewhere else. I can’t knock a guy for wanting to try and be more in this league. Coming here and getting the deal that he did, I was proud of him.”
Williams appeared in 79 games for the Celtics last season. He averaged 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 45.4% from the field, 39.5% from beyond the arc and 77.0% from the free-throw line.
The 24-year-old Williams has career averages of 6.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The Mavericks, who missed the playoffs last season, needed more win-now players around Irving and Luka Doncic and Williams fits that bill. The Celtics went 181-107 with Williams in the lineup from 2019-20 to 2022-23.
Grant Williams: Kyrie Irving ‘Did a Phenomenal Job of Communicating With Me’
Williams said at media day that Irving did a “phenomenal job” communicating with him during free agency about joining the Mavericks. The forward also spoke with Doncic.
“I reached out to [Kyrie and Luka] to understand what they needed from me and if I felt I would be valued,” Williams said. “Kyrie did a phenomenal job of communicating with me to understand the role and the opportunity that was there.”
An anonymous member of the Mavericks told Keith Smith of Spotrac during Summer League that Williams will be their new Dorian Finney-Smith. Dallas traded Finney-Smith, whom assistant coach Greg St. Jean said had “a shark mindset,” to the Brooklyn Nets last season in the blockbuster Irving trade.
“Grant is going to help replace what we lost in Dorian Finney-Smith,” the anonymous member of the Mavericks told Smith. “He can shoot and defend, and we need guys like that. We’re also excited about his ability as a passer, too. That’s something our other bigs don’t really do, so it adds a new dimension to our offense.”
Kyrie Irving Reveals Why He Re-Signed With Mavericks
Irving talked at media day about why he re-signed with the Mavericks on the first day of free agency . The All-Star point guard signed a three-year, $126 million contract with Dallas.
“It wasn’t too difficult of a process,” Irving said. “Had Dallas as No. 1 on my list. Obviously, I looked elsewhere — salary cap opportunities, where I could fit in with other guys around the league — but there just wasn’t much space. And me being 31 now, I had to have a different vantage point, and I felt like I could not just settle here but be happy to come back here and be welcomed back with a warm embrace.”
Irving averaged 27.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in 20 games with the Mavericks last season.
“So I took everything into account,” Irving added. “I took my time a few days before free agency just to be with my family, gauge how they felt about being in Dallas alongside me. And everybody was excited. I mean, even when I got traded here, midseason, a lot of my family was excited and they were just looking forward to me having a peace of mind just on the court and off the court.”