Former Top-10 Draft Pick Floated as Potential Celtics Target

Stanley Johnson is currently a free agent

Getty Stanley Johnson is currently a free agent

As we near the end of the All-Star break, the Boston Celtics still boast an open roster spot and will likely be looking to finalize their roster in the coming weeks.

According to MassLive’s Souichi Terada, one player that is available and could make sense for Boston is Stanley Johnson, the former 8th overall pick from the 2015 NBA Draft. 

“The former top-10 pick was waived by the Spurs and he’s looking to still stick in the league…His length and athleticism are also a plus for a backup wing option. He won’t move the needle too much, but could be a solid insurance option for the Celtics,” Terada wrote in his February 22 article.

Johnson, 26, has participated in 30 games this season, averaging 5.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 53.3% from the field and 45% from three-point range. Of course, the Celtics aren’t looking for a starting caliber player, but rather, someone who can plug in the gaps to help provide additional rest for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, which Johnson would be more than capable of doing.

Grant Williams Seen As a Flight Risk For Boston

When looking beyond the current season, the Celtics will clearly have their hands full when trying to keep Grant Williams with the team once he hits restricted free agency. According to Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes, Williams should be considered the Celtics’ biggest flight risk.

“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.”

Williams has become an integral part of the Celtics’ rotation over the last two seasons and would be a difficult rotation player to replace due to his versatile defense, reliable three-point shooting, and growing back-to-the-basket game.

Williams Expected to Demand Eye-Watering Salary

On February 13, long-time NBA writer Marc Stein reported that Williams is using Keldon Johnson of the San Antonio Spurs as a potential measuring stick for his next contract, with the Tennessee native looking for a deal in the region of $20 million a year. 

” The Celtics, to no one’s surprise, did not trade Grant Williams. 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,” Stein reported.

Given the Celtics’ status as a tax-paying team, and the fact that they will need to agree a new deal with Jaylen Brown in the summer of 2024, it’s unclear whether Brad Stevens will be willing to meet Williams contract demands or whether the versatile forward would be inclined to sign a team-friendly deal at the end of the current season.