What is the significance of the Grant Williams trade for the Celtics and Mavericks? The Celtics purportedly agreed to a sign-and-trade that will send Grant Williams to the Mavericks, The Timberwolves, on Wednesday.
Williams and the Mavs agreed to a four-year, $54 million contract, which, according to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, is the precise amount Williams requested from the Celtics.
In exchange for not matching the Mavericks’ offer on restricted free agent Williams, the Celtics received second-round picks in 2024 and 2028, in addition to a swap of second-round selections in 2025. The Spurs, who also assumed the remaining year of Reggie Bullock’s contract, were able to convince the Mavericks to transfer first-round picks in 2030. This could be distressing for Dallas when Victor Wembanyama is 26 years old.
Let’s examine this in greater detail:
- What the Celtics received
- What the Mavericks obtained
- What Grant Williams received
- What to anticipate next
- What the Celtics received
Brad Stevens continued to amass assets in the second round, and the Celtics’ current draft outlook is as follows:
2024 initial (own)
2024 first (Warriors, safeguarded top-four)
2024 second (Spurs, protected within the top 55, unlikely to advance)
Dallas takes 2024 seconds.
2025 initial (own)
Own 2025 second
20.25 seconds (best from the Pistons, Warriors, and Wizards).
2025 second (most advantageous for Dallas)
2026 initial (own)
Timberwolves, Pelicans, Knicks, and Trail Blazers have the best odds of winning in 2026 (second-best: Timberwolves, Pelicans, Knicks, and Trail Blazers).
2027 ranked first (own) and second (Hawks) in 2027.
2028 first (least advantageous, Spurs protected in the Top-One)
2028 (Mavericks) second
2029 initial (own)
Own second 2029
2030 initially (own)
2030 personal second
In 2024 and 2028, the Mavericks provide all of the new draft picks, as well as a swap in 2025. In and of themselves, second-round picks are unlikely to yield franchise-altering talent, but they can be packaged to move up or down in the draft if necessary. The 2028 selection is notable in part because the Celtics had no second-round selection that year. Now, they will have at least one selection in both phases each year until 2030.
In contrast, the Celtics will presumably acquire seven first- and second-round picks over the next two seasons. This ensures they can continue to sign prospects to affordable rookie contracts while utilizing draft choices in trades. If the Celtics desire a player in the late lottery in 2024, they may be able to combine their two first-round picks and still have flexibility in the second round. If a star becomes available, the Celtics could trade a package containing three first-round picks between 2024 and 2026 without violating the Stepien Rule, all while maintaining a robust second-round presence. The new collective bargaining agreement increases the value of a second-round bargaining contract, and Stevens has just acquired three new opportunities.
The Celtics did not receive a player in exchange for Williams, which is a problem, but they did continue to construct a flexible path to the future at a time when adaptability may be crucial.
What the Mavericks obtained
Williams endured a difficult year in 2022-23. In November, he played 29.4 minutes in 16 games, but that dropped to 17.4 minutes as the season came to a close, and he averaged 17.7 minutes in the postseason. While he shot 45 percent from beyond the arc in the playoffs, he was primarily out of the regular rotation and received five DNPs. Early in the year, he struggled to control his temper with officials, including a violent incident in October. He informed Donovan Mitchell that he was about to “make both,” a statement that went viral.
Despite this, Williams has displayed offensive potential in the proper situations on numerous occasions. In 2021, he provided the Celtics the option of defending Giannis Antetokounmpo 1-on-1, and he performed admirably, including against Kevin Durant. His improved 3-point shooting created opportunidrive forto drive closeouts (with differing degrees of success). For a player of his age, he has participated in a large number of high-profile playoff games, including the NBA Finals, and has had some genuinely remarkable positive moments. He was well liked by his colleagues, with the exception of Deuce Tatum. Reporters and Celtics organization members enjoyed working with him.
Williams displayed the potential to be a competent starter on both ends of the court at his best, and he will turn 25 in November. It makes sense for the Mavericks to wager four years and $54 million on a player with such immediate potential and a strong work ethic. It made less sense for the Celtics, who just extended Kristaps Porzingis and still have Jaylen Brown’s maximum contract to sign this summer.
What Grant Williams received
Despite a few obstacles in the road, Williams’ gamble on himself appears to have paid off completely. The Celtics reportedly offered him a contract that was “far” less lucrative than the one he ultimately signed with the Mavericks, which exceeded the non-taxpayer mid-level exception that many believed he would ultimately sign. A four-year guarantee on a robust new contract with a team where the starting position appears to be up for grabs is excellent.
The Celtics have traded both Marcus Smart and Williams, two players they drafted, developed, and played vital roles in. Clearly, Smart is the larger story, but the Celtics’ defensive identity will be less versatile and physical next season, and the new CBA appears to have suffered its first significant loss.
The Celtics have both star talent and future flexibility, given that NBA teams are attempting to figure out how to operate under a new, extremely restrictive second tax apron for the league’s highest spenders. This unique flexibility could place Stevens in an enviable position in the CBA landscape.