Grant Williams is not the flashiest player ever. He doesn't have highlight-reel hops or handles, and casual fans simply think he's just taking up space on the court as an instigator for the Boston Celtics. However, every team needs their own version of Williams — a hard-nosed, unselfish player willing to do the little things on both ends of the court, in addition to being a marksman from deep (especially from the corners). So with Williams entering NBA free agency, why not sign the guy himself?
Of course, that is easier said than done. Williams will be entering restricted free agency, which means that the Celtics could match any offer coming the 24-year old forward's way. Nonetheless, given the premium the league is placing towards defensive switchability, Williams surely would command a ton of interest in free agency, especially for teams with frontcourt needs.
Williams, before the season began, failed to come to terms with an extension with the Celtics, as he did not want to budge off his demands. Whether that ends up being a shrewd move remains unclear; Williams averaged the most minutes, points, rebounds, and assists per game through his first four seasons in the league in 2022-23, but by the end of the year, he was on the fringes of the Celtics rotation.
The Celtics did end up bringing Grant Williams back into the rotation, but the lasting memory he left in the 2023 NBA playoffs was his “poke the bear” moment with Jimmy Butler.
Be that as it may, any team looking for a player in the mold of PJ Tucker and Maxi Kleber (defensive-minded bigs who can knock down threes) should do well with floating Williams' representation a call.
And these are the three teams that must do so with NBA free agency less than a month away.
Occam's razor has withstood the test of time for a reason — it rings true a lot of times when going deep into certain trains of thought. And with Grant Williams' free agency, the same could very well be true. The simplest explanation should be the right one in this regard; the Celtics aren't too far off from title contention, and Williams is the kind of player those kinds of teams need to fill in the gaps. Williams might have poked the bear during the Eastern Conference Finals, but Celtics fans still lauded him for the fire he showed.
Moreover, the Celtics have matching rights on any offer sheet Williams signs. It's not out of the realm of possibility for a team that's totally enamored of Williams to sign him to an offer sheet that's simply too prohibitive for the Celtics' liking. But is that really the best use of resources for a team with cap space?
Given the uneven end to Grant Williams' season, he might end up signing a contract worth around $12 to $14 million annually, which isn't exactly exorbitant for a team with contending aspirations.
The Celtics, after years of playoff heartbreak, may refuse to run it back. But it's in their best interest to give their current core another shot, Williams included.
Won't it be funny if Grant Williams ends up signing with the Heat after the tussle he had with Jimmy Butler?
Still, beyond the comedy factor, Williams fits with the Heat like a round peg into a round hole. Williams doesn't back down from a fight; not everyone would have the stones to go face-to-face with one of the best performers in the playoffs, and yet there he was, nary a single care in the world, diving headfirst into an altercation to try and breathe life into his team.
Grant Williams' two-way versatility should also make him a fixture in the Heat rotation. He's a willing mover of the basketball and his basketball IQ would help entrench himself deep into the famous Heat culture as he'll be at the right place at the right time on defense as well.
His shooting ability (221 threes over the past two seasons) is just the cherry on top, as the Heat, throughout the 2023 NBA playoffs, love playing with at least four threats from deep all the time.
The Heat will have difficulties signing Williams. As it is, the Heat are over the luxury tax, and given Williams' contract demands, a move to South Beach may be far-fetched. But it never hurts to dream.
The Pacers will probably find themselves linked to any quality power forward this offseason. That's merely indicative of the Pacers' dire state of affairs at the position, having started Aaron Nesmith at the 4 for much of the past season.
Grant Williams shouldn't command too much money in free agency, so perhaps the Pacers can sign him to a contract starting in the low eight-digits. By then, Williams should slot in as a solid option at the 4 — someone who could help ease the Pacers' seventh overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft should they select a power forward (Jarace Walker or Taylor Hendricks, perhaps).