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It would've been more surprising if Grant Williams and the Celtics agreed to a contract extension ahead of Monday's deadline on the eve of the regular season.

Williams is one of Boston's most valuable rotation members, evolving into a two-way player who's reliable from beyond the arc and capable of sliding into the starting or closing lineup.

However, with the Tennessee alum scheduled for restricted free agency at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, the Celtics wanted to avoid bidding against themselves.

They already have one of the most expensive payrolls in the NBA. Furthermore, most of their top players are on multi-year deals, and Boston must prepare for sizable extensions for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Every dollar counts for a team starting the repeater clock this season while carrying a 51.3 million luxury tax bill.

But Williams, a vice president of the NBA Players Association, is well aware the salary cap is about to rise significantly, largely thanks to new television contracts.


He wasn't about to settle for a deal starting at the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which carries an early projection of $11.4 million for 2023-24. Worst case scenario, that's still available to Williams over the summer. Signing for that amount now, even with raises throughout the contract, would likely leave a lot of money on the table.

That's why, as detailed yesterday, an extension was unlikely, but neither side is at fault.

Speaking about the situation following shootaround on Tuesday, ahead of the opening night tip-off against the Sixers, Williams expressed the following.

"It's one of those things that you never want to take a bad deal for no one around you. The role that I play as VP of the player's association, you understand where the league is going in the future and where the league is currently at."

Williams continued: "For me, it wasn't a matter of life-changing money. It was a matter of value, not only for this year, but for years to come. I think that from both sides, we all negotiated from that point, and there was no ill will. There were no frustrations.

"It was one of those things that you couldn't come to terms. It doesn't mean that the deal doesn't get done next year, it doesn't mean that a deal won't get done in the future. For us, it's a matter of perspective."


Williams also shared that not signing now for less than he's worth was about more than properly taking care of himself.

"I want to make sure that not only this deal that I take is something I feel confident in, but it's something that doesn't mess up the market for guys that do the things that I do.

"For me, that's huge. That's valuable, because I care about every single player in this league. I care about every single player in this league that has to deal with free agency; that has to deal with the issues that we have within this league. We're on the right path."

Both sides understood a deal was less likely to happen now than over the summer, but in not getting this extension done before the season, the Celtics risk spending more to extend Williams, or worse, losing him to an offer sheet too rich to match.

Further Reading

Robert Williams Undergoes PRP Injection That May Delay His Season Debut

Celtics and Grant Williams Unlikely to Agree to Contract Extension Before Regular Season, But Neither Side at Fault

Noah Vonleh Makes the Celtics' Opening Night Roster

The Top 5 Plays from the Celtics-Raptors Preseason Finale

What Stood Out in Celtics' Loss vs. Raptors in Preseason Finale: Concerns New and Old Surface

Malcolm Brogdon Explains Why He Chose Celtics Over Eastern Conference Rival

Should the Celtics Trade for Jae Crowder?