Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Celtics should be ‘scared’ of big offer this summer: sources

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Almost everything has gone right for the Boston Celtics this season. They lay claim to the best offensive rating in the NBA this year (and in NBA history) and are 18-4 for the season, giving them the best record in the Eastern Conference (and league).

However, prior to the start of the season, they were in the news due to their ongoing renewal talks with Grant Williams. Since they never finalized a deal, Williams will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Celtics are said to be “scared” of a big bid, according to sources who spoke to Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney.

“I would be scared of a big, early bid for Williams,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “Something that falls down. He doesn’t want to leave Boston and they don’t want to lose him, but if that happens and someone gives him a deal that starts at $20m and goes down from there, can the Celtics match it? Probably not. But will any team be willing to give Grant Williams that kind of money? Probably not. There will be teams that could, but the Celtics will be able to match anything in the ballpark of about $15 million [year].”

Williams has had a phenomenal season so far this year. The 24-year-old forward has played in 21 of the Celtics’ 22 games this season. He averages 8.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists on 52.0% shots from the floor and 44.2% shots from behind the three-point line.

With Williams set to enter the limited free hand, the Celtics will be able to match any offer he receives. However, they could find themselves in a difficult position if a team makes him a big offer.

Boston renewed big man Al Horford on a two-year, $20 million deal, and according to MassLive’s Brian Robb, that deal could affect their willingness to re-sign Williams at a tremendous price.

“Williams is still an important part of the Celtics rotation, but the team will likely have less urge to overpay him on their next deal now that Horford has been signed for the next two seasons, even after Williams’ strong start to the year .” Robb wrote. “The truth for Williams is that the restricted free agent market in general is a tough place for a role player like him because other teams have limited spending leeway and teams are unwilling to issue offer sheets that could limit their flexibility .”

On the other hand, with Horford taking a huge pay cut, the Celtics could potentially afford to pay Williams a higher salary, according to other sources who spoke to Heavy Sports.

“Obviously they know they’re going to be a steering team next year and probably for the next few years,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “The goal for them when it comes to it (the luxury tax) is to keep it where it is. So you look at Horford and Williams together and realize they want to spend next year on these two guys no more than what they’re getting this year. Now there is more of an idea of ​​what they are dealing with. Grant Williams could be one of the winners.”

Needless to say, there will be some interesting decisions to make for the Celtics this offseason.

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