Trade deadlines in the sports world are always a hot topic, and it’s not different with the Boston Celtics and the NBA.
The February 9 deadline is fast approaching. And while it can be fun to imagine dream scenarios in building the most-perfect team, this season’s Celtics are not in need of making a big splash.
Yes. That means no swapping out Jaylen Brown. Role players who can seamlessly contribute are better targets, and those people are out there. It’s who Boston would give up where it becomes dicey.
That means not breaking up the core of this team by needlessly trading Grant Williams.
Boston Celtics: Stay with Grant Williams
Two reasons have been fueling the online chatter of some wanting to see Williams gone. The fourth-year player out of Tennessee is due for a raise this summer and it’s possible he asks for more than Boston is willing to give.
To be fair, with the possibility of Williams walking away to pursue starter’s minutes elsewhere, a trade could be reasonable. The Celtics, however, hold the league’s best record and, though struggling at times, aren’t flailing. No need to disrupt this team by trading away a key player in the rotation.
Plus, truth be told, there’s not a lot to gain by trading Williams, even if he was part of a larger package, because if that’s the case, team chemistry comes into play.
That’s an important reason for this team’s success. When healthy, seven of the top eight rotation players are part of last season’s run. That holds much more importance and is part of the reason they have overcome some of those stretches this season where players were injured.
Since his arrival in Boston, I always thought Williams would make a nice replacement for Al Horford (even before Horford left, and came back). Similar styles of play made Williams the perfect protégé of Horford. Numbers aren’t quite comparable to Horford’s early career but the two are in different situations.
Stats for Williams have improved each season. While he may never rise to Horford’s level or be a feared shot blocker, Williams has a chance to be a major contributor on the Celtics for years to come.
Bit of offensive slump for Boston Celtics
Numerous Boston players have run into cold snaps this season. While Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can usually make up their off nights with solid outputs — despite frigid 3-point shooting — others have needed multiple games to get going after slumps. Malcolm Brogdon was one of these players, and he was able to find his rhythm again.
Williams can do the same.
A current five-game slump has seen Williams score only 23 points on 9-25 shooting. Knocking down attempts beyond the arc has been a struggle (6-17) and Williams defense has left a little something to be desired in this stretch.
Still, one hopes this is all just temporary. He had a couple of 20+ scoring games in January and is averaging a career-best 8.6 points per game. (Though one would like more of a balance in his scoring outbursts, for in five games in January, Williams scored five points or less.)
His worth is more than scoring, pulling down 4.6 rebounds per game, also a career-best. Valued for his field goal shooting, Williams is knocking down 41.4 percent of his three-point attempts.
Williams has played in 53 games, averaging 27.4 minutes. A steady presence all season, Williams is an important player in Boston’s championship aspirations.
Is Williams untouchable when it comes to trade talks? No. But it’s hard to imagine a trade that sees him move while also improving the Celtics dramatically. Better to ride out this cold scoring slump and let him rise back to the player we know he can all be. And let the future take of itself.