Any predictions on what the Celtics will do with Grant Williams and a contract extension? Is he the best long range replacement for Horford? Thanks, Jeff
Williams probably wishes the Celtics could offer him a contract right now based on how well he played in Game 2. The bad news for him is he has to wait until free agency before he becomes eligible. Brad Stevens showed his willingness during his first offseason to make long-term commitments on deals by agreeing to extend pacts with Rob Williams and Marcus Smart as one of his first orders of business. The calculus may be a bit different for a reserve like Williams and Boston already having a lot of long-term money committed to this core. However, there’s no doubt the deeper that the Celtics go in the postseason with Williams playing a prominent role, the likelier he gets to stay with a high price tag.
We will get deeper into Williams’ market once the offseason arrives but based on his value in this series specifically against someone like Giannis Antetokounmpo, it’s hard to imagine his price tag starting any lower than what Rob Williams (4 years, $54 million) got this offseason. If he continues to knock down 3s consistently and serve as a versatile defensive option, that money may end up being too low for him to settle for. Whether the Celtics want to commit to more than that or roll the dice with him in restricted free agency in one more year will be an interesting question for Brad Stevens and company. A deep run in the present would undoubtedly make them feel better about making that kind of commitment though.
Should Boston be taking more midrange shots? Who are some offseason targets for shooters they should be looking at? How much more of a leash do they give Nesmith next year? Or Hauser too? Any 2nd round targets in the draft? They worked out a kid today from Texas Tech — Eddy F.B.
On the midrange front, the Celtics certainly made a point of seeking some of those out in Game 2 with Jaylen Brown finding a few of his sweet spots. The team’s offseason list for shooters probably won’t be that long since there will be a very limited free agent budget due to the team already have big money committed to next year’s roster. For that reason, getting some improvement from Aaron Nesmith or Sam Hauser will likely be a top priority in trying to bolster the bench shooting. Hauser was one of the best shooters in the G-League this past year and Nesmith has the ability to hit 3s reliably in the NBA as we saw during his rookie year. Some better health and another year of familiarity within Ime Udoka’s system may give him a better chance to break into the rotation next year. I’ve got nothing for you yet on second round targets but I’d say keep an eye on Yam Madar as a former second round pick who might be brought over on a two-way deal or to compete for a 15-man roster spot.
Why isn’t Theis playing? is it now a civil war on Theis? — Will S
Theis has played well by his standards since his arrival in Boston but the truth is he was destined to be emergency depth for this frontcourt when they are at full strength. Outside of a rough Game 1, he did his job well against the Nets in Round 1, making his acquisition at the trade deadline well worth the cost of taking on the onus of a long-term deal that he signed with the Rockets.
Against the Bucks front line that is focused on packing the paint, shooting is a top priority and that’s something that Theis can’t provide much of from the perimeter reliably (14 percent from 3 in his career). He also is giving up a lot in the size and strength department to the likes of Giannis, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez so Ime Udoka is understandably going with superior options on that front in Al Horford, Rob Williams and Grant Williams.
If foul trouble or another injury arises among the bigs, Theis could quickly become a factor again in the right matchup. However, with Udoka preferring to go with a short rotation, it’s hard to see him get more meaningful minutes in this Bucks series as Rob Williams looks closer to 100 percent.
Is there a path to using the Fournier TPE and what is the best caliber player that could be added to help this roster? — T Harty
There is a path to using the Fournier TPE but it is a bit tricky due to Boston’s already high committed payroll for next season. There are a lot of limitations for a team that is expected to be in range for luxury tax territory in the CBA and one of the biggest ones involves sign-and-trade. The Celtics would become hard capped and also would be forced to stay under the apron for a player they received in a sign-and-trade this offseason. That would be challenging to pull off on several fronts since Boston would need to send lots of outgoing salary to make the math work and also probably preferred not to be hard-capped, something Brad Stevens avoided this year by only using the taxpayer mid-level exception.
The more likely scenario for the Celtics using the Fournier TPE is via a trade for a player under contract already. In those situations, the hard cap limitation does not kick in so the Celtics would have far more flexibility for other offseason moves. That’s not to say the team will definitely use the Fournier TPE in full this summer since it would put them deep into the luxury tax without subsequent moves. However, if you are searching for talent to add with this tool, focus more on players that are under contract and likely make around mid-level money rather than free agents. We will start getting more into specific potential targets as the offseason approaches but there’s a long list of talent that fit that criteria for Boston. The question will mostly be what the Celtics need to give up for them and how far will Boston’s ownership go into the tax.