Celtics Offseason

Will Celtics keep Grant Williams? Latest on market for C's forward

Teams can sign Williams to an offer sheet as early as this Thursday.

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While we wait for Jaylen Brown to sign a supermax contract extension with the Boston Celtics, there's another C's player whose future could be determined this week.

Grant Williams is set to hit restricted free agency after Boston extended him an $8.4 million qualifying offer last week. Williams almost certainly will decline that offer to test the open market, where teams can sign him to an offer sheet as early as Thursday. The Celtics would have two days to match that offer sheet and keep Williams in Boston, or let him walk.

The Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic all have been reported to have interest in Williams, and you can add Charlotte to that mix: The Hornets are "strongly considering" giving Williams an offer sheet, HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reported Saturday.

But would an offer from Charlotte or another team signal the end of Williams' Celtics tenure? Not necessarily. According to Substack NBA reporter Marc Stein, the C's have been "sending behind-the scenes signals to interested teams that they intend to match any offer sheet" involving Williams.

Boston keeping Williams would be an interesting development, as reports indicated the team was likely to move on from the 24-year-old forward after acquiring big man Kristaps Porzingis last week. The Celtics are already above the tax threshold for the 2023-24 season and would be more than $20 million beyond the tax line if they sign Williams to the $12.4 million non-taxpayer midlevel exception, according to Stein. If they keep Williams beyond the 2024-25 season, they'll need to cut costs elsewhere if they want to avoid draconian penalties for exceeding the second tax apron in the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement.

There's a case for keeping Williams, however: He averaged a career-high 8.1 points per game on 39.5 percent 3-point shooting last season and is a strong, versatile defender. While he fell out of Joe Mazzulla's postseason rotation in 2023, he proved in 2022 that he can play a key role in a run to the NBA Finals.

The Celtics are clearly in "win now" mode after trading for Porzingis, and they may decide it's worth paying Williams (and dealing with the financial consequences later) to fortify their frontcourt depth for another deep playoff run.

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