Nets’ Mikal Bridges Spotted With Celtics Free Agent [LOOK]

Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Mikal Bridges #1 of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets could have a franchise cornerstone and chief recruiter in Mikal Bridges.

After taking to social media and sharing a picture of Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams calling for the latter to “save the city”, the two were seen sitting together on the sidelines during the New York Liberty’s win over the Dallas Wings on June 11.

Williams, 24, is heading into restricted free agency after averaging 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists this past season shooting 45.4% overall and 39.5% from beyond the arc.

He had to earn his way back into consistent playing time in the Eastern Conference Finals under Celtics head coach Joe Mazzula. But, more than that, the Celtics are one of several teams facing the daunting task of navigating the salary cap under the new CBA which is highly punitive to teams spending into the luxury tax.

Boston is over just over $4 million into the tax, per Spotrac. As a title contender, is willing to spend. But they also have to consider the future contracts of Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown, both of whom qualified for supermax contracts by making All-NBA teams this season.

Tatum can sign a deal worth up to $318 million after next season while Brown can sign for up to $295 million as soon as this offseason, ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks.

That could put a squeeze on middle-tiered role players looking to get paid like Williams who underwent surgery on his left hand this offseason but is expected to make a full recovery.

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A rival executive tells Heavy Sports NBA insider Steve Bulpett that Williams’ lost minutes matter.

“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.”

Williams shook off his light use early in the postseason to average 7.5 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 48.4% from the floor and 42.9% from deep in the ECF, though Boston still bowed out in seven games.

Brooklyn Could Bid on Boston Big Man

The Celtics will have the right of first refusal and can match any offer Williams receives this summer. Brooklyn’s cap sheet is also in no great shakes sitting less than $16 million below the luxury tax line and needing to pay their own restricted free agent forward in Cameron Johnson who happens to be one of Bridges’ best friends.

But the Nets can avoid the tax by trading some of their plethora of wings. The Atlanta Hawks are said to have an interest in Dorian Finney-Smith while the Cleveland Cavaliers roster Royce O’Neale’s friend Donovan Mitchell and tried to acquire the former at the trade deadline.

Brooklyn can shed more than $24 million if they move both Finney-Smith and O’Neale depending on what they get back.

Nets’ Starting Lineup Could Look Very Different Next Season

All but one of the five starters the Nets closed the season with are under contract for next season with Johnson the lone wild card, though general manager Sean Marks has deemed him a “priority” this offseason.

Brooklyn is also one of the favorites to land Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard if he ever really becomes available which has not happened yet.

Still, they could land him for less than expected, per Zach Harper of The Athletic.

“A Brooklyn deal probably centers around the expiring deals of Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris,” states a report from Harper from June 9. “That’s before hoping to pry as many of those future first-round picks Brooklyn has…Either way, such offers might not inspire a promising rebuild for Blazers fans.”

Potentially adding Williams to a lineup featuring Lillard, Bridges, Johnson, and Nic Claxton could be interesting.

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