Celtics Offseason

Report: Celtics seeking first-rounder in Grant Williams sign-and-trade

Can the Celtics avoid losing Grant Williams for nothing this offseason?

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If the Boston Celtics lose Grant Williams this offseason, they at least want something to show for it.

Williams officially becomes a restricted free agent Thursday, meaning teams can give him an offer sheet and acquire him if the Celtics don't match that offer within two days. Boston reportedly has been exploring sign-and-trade possibilities involving Williams, however, and the team is "seeking a first-round pick" as compensation in that trade, The Athletic's Jared Weiss reported Tuesday.

Weiss noted it's rare for teams to give up a first-round pick for a role player like Williams, so it's possible the Celtics are just setting the bar high with the hope of getting a decent return if Williams leaves the team. The Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and Washington Wizards all have interest in Williams, per Weiss, so perhaps the C's can leverage that market to land a decent draft pick in return.

If the Celtics don't find a partner for a sign-and-trade, they still could decide to keep Williams by offering him the midlevel exception ($12.4 million for 2023-24) or matching any offer made by another team. While the C's have just $7 million in cap space before hitting the second tax apron for 2023-24, they could free up salary by moving Malcolm Brogdon and his $22.5 million cap hit, or just keep their entire core intact and stomach the tax bill with the hopes of raising Banner 18 this season.

If Boston does keep Williams, however, the team would be committing significant money to four big men -- Kristaps Porzingis, Al Horford, Robert Williams and Grant Williams -- and be light on depth at wing and guard, especially if it finds a Brogdon trade partner. If the goal is a more balanced roster, the Celtics should let Williams walk and replace him with a lower-cost backup big man while seeking additional depth in the backcourt.

Either way, expect Brad Stevens and his staff to explore all options to either retain Williams or recoup some value if he moves on this summer.

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