Grant Williams is looking to secure his first major NBA payday, which might not be with the Boston Celtics.
Prior to the season, Williams and the Celtics failed to come to an extension agreement, which prompted Boston to exercise its club option worth over $4.3 million on the 24-year-old. This leaves Williams a soon-to-be restricted free agent at the end of the season with previous reports indicating a solid level of league-wide interest expected to surround the veteran. And with said interest, has come an expectation for Williams’ annual salary.
Williams is rumored to be seeking a contract extension roughly worth around $20 million, according to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein.
“Rumbles persist that various teams are monitoring the situation and curious about Williams’ future there,” Stein wrote Monday night. “Williams is poised to become a restricted free agent this summer and said to be seeking a contract in the Keldon Johnson in San Antonio, $20-million-annually range.”
In his fourth NBA season, Williams is averaging a career-high 8.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 27.6 minutes through 56 games. He’s inherited a greater degree of responsibility in interim head coach Joe Mazzulla’s rotation and has shown various strides of improvement in his offensive skill set. Williams, who is also averaging 6.3 shot attempts per game, is shooting 46.6% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc.
However, that price request is bold.
While Williams is in the midst of producing his strongest campaign, in the event that the Celtics do dish out a multi-year extension worth $20 million a year, it would make the Tennessee product Boston’s fourth-highest player — ahead of Marcus Smart, Robert Williams and Derrick White. That trio has done its part in each proving the worth of their dollar value. Yet, could the same be said for Williams? Not really.
Williams is a proven streaky scorer on the one hand. But on the other, when push comes to shove he’s shown to rise to the occasion on both ends of the floor. When the Celtics were in the process of their NBA Finals run last season, Williams delivered some series-altering defense against top-tier stars Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo. That, coupled with him being a good locker room fit, does justice to Williams’ case to remain in Boston.
But, with sports being a business, it’ll ultimately come down to the numbers and whether or not Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens can find a middle ground with Williams down the line.