The Celtics will have an interesting decision to make this offseason when it pertains to possibly brining back Grant Williams.
The veteran forward is a restricted free agent coming off his best year by averaging a career-best 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest in 79 games played (23 starts) -- while also shooting 39.5% from 3-point range.
Williams has also developed into a versatile defender during his four years in Boson, being able to guard wings like Jimmy Butler to big men like Giannis Antetokounmpo.
If the Celtics were to re-sign Williams, what would be a salary that makes sense for the franchise -- especially giving the league's new Collective Bargaining Agreement set to kick in next season and also the pending signing of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to supermax extensions this summer and next respectively.
While Boston has first crack at matching any potential offer sheets that gets sent Williams' way via any other teams, there might be more than a few ball clubs interested in the young vet's services.
ESPN NBA insider Bobby Marks was recently on NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Talk podcast and spoke about several teams that could reach out to Williams within the next several weeks.
"I think his number is anywhere from probably the non-tax midlevel, which is at $12.2 million -- I would say $12-14 million," Marks said. "So now you're looking at, and I'm working on an article that will come out later in the month, kind of a spending tiers, right? We have different tiers on how teams can spend here."So now you're looking at Houston, Orlando, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, maybe Indiana. Indiana, potentially. Those teams. Detroit? Probably not. They've got a lot of bigs. Teams with cap space. Like, what team is going to go out and make an offer sheet? I think for Houston, certainly they're going to go big-game hunting, big names here. Offer sheets are not -- we saw DeAndre Ayton last year -- teams have their cap space tied up for multiple days here (and that's not ideal for them)."
According to Marks, if the Celtics are able to re-sign Williams, a deal could look like in the realm of four years at roughly $50 million.
"So I think if you're Boston, four years and $48 million (for Williams), does that makes sense for you? Because I think you could always move it down the road," Marks said. "Just because you sign a guy doesn't mean that you're stuck with him here. Do I think a team would come in and offer him $17 million or $18 million? It's a rich number, right? It's a big number here. So I think the non-tax midlevel number is probably the starter number. And then I just think there's going to be a walk away number, right? There has to be a walk away number here. I don't know if it's going to come in free agency."I don't know if there's a $17 million number out there unless you're a team that gets shut out from the Kyrie Irvings and the James Hardens and the Fred VanVleets. There are a handful of teams that have that $12.2 million number, the non-tax number, Cleveland and Sacramento and teams like that. Charlotte, potentially, has that number to go in and do an offer sheet, but that's the most they could do. So if you're Boston and you come in and that starting number is $12.2 million, it's not a bad number. And I know what the concern is in 2024 when a Jaylen Brown supermax could start, but it's still a pretty good number and a guy that can help you."
Williams' playing time was inconsistent down the stretch of the regular season and into the first two rounds of the playoffs. But despite several DNP's, he was able to make an impact for the most part when called upon in spurts for head coach Joe Mazzulla.
Still, could Williams be seeking a bigger role elsewhere or does he want to remain with a contender like the Celtics to which his minutes could increase -- especially if Al Horford's playing time gets reduced significantly next season? Either way, Boston doesn't nor should they feel they have to overcompensate Williams, even if he's been a vital piece on both ends of the floor over the past two years.
Photo used courtesy Getty Images
Photo used courtesy Getty Images