Contracts are a popular topic when it comes to sports discourse. While NBA player discourse often comes down to championship rings and individual accolades, you’d be hard-pressed to have a conversation without someone bringing up whether someone does or doesn’t deserve the contract that they’re playing on.
In a sports-crazy city like Boston, the Celtics aren’t exempt from contract debates. The C’s contracts ‚— good or bad — are frequently discussed, but that’s the territory that comes with being one of the biggest sports franchises of all time.
Boston hasn’t been afraid to spend money to chase a championship, proven by a $180.4 million payroll for the 2023-24 NBA season (per Spotrac). However, just because the team has spent a lot doesn’t mean that they overspent on each player.
With a handful of contract steals on the roster, here are the Celtics’ three most underpaid players heading into the upcoming NBA season.
Celtics Most Underpaid Players 2023
1. Robert Williams — 2023-24 Salary: $11.57 Million
The fact that the Celtics were able to lock Robert Williams down to a four-year, $54 million contract two years ago is insane. Although the deal seemed risky at the time, it paid off immediately as he went on to be named to the All-Defensive Second Team in 2022.
Unfortunately, injuries prevented Williams from reaching similar heights last year, holding him to just 35 regular-season contests. He still impressed in the games he did play, though, averaging 8.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 74.7% from the floor.
Assuming that he has a healthy training camp, I expect Williams to return to his usual self in 2023-24. He looked good during Boston’s playoff run and hasn’t had any setbacks during the offseason.
In other words, assuming Williams returns to form, the Celtics will only be paying slightly over $11.5 million for someone who’s potentially a top-two defensive center in the NBA. That’s some terrific value.
Even with Kristaps Porzingis now in the frontcourt, the Celtics will still turn to Williams to guard the rest of the league’s top big men. That’s especially true with Grant Williams’ minutes being up for grabs after his departure to the Dallas Mavericks this offseason.
As long as Williams continues to prove that he’s capable of such a task, his deal won’t stop being a bargain any time soon.