In Grant Williams’ final season with the Boston Celtics, a campaign that coincided with Joe Mazzulla taking Ime Udoka’s place as head coach, the former Tennessee Volunteer was no longer the rotation fixture he had been in the team’s run to the 2022 NBA Finals.
The six-foot-six forward averaged 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds, and he made 39.5 percent of his 3.7 three-point attempts while playing 25.9 minutes in his last season in Boston.
He also continued displaying his defensive versatility and the ability to hold up against the likes of Joel Embiid. Plus, Williams provided needed grit, most notably challenging Jimmy Butler in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
That decision backfired, with the Miami Heat star forward going from a quiet night to rallying the visitors to victory, winning the first two games of the series, both at TD Garden. However, the Celtics’ response to it, flatlining afterward, with no one coming to stand tall alongside Williams, stood out.
And while Boston nearly became the first team in league history to overcome a 3-0 deficit, shortly after getting eliminated and right before the NBA Draft, the franchise began reshaping the core of its roster, acquiring Kristaps Porzingis in a deal that sent Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies.
That move, coupled with the more punitive nature of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, seemingly spelled the end of the Charlotte, North Carolina, native’s four-year tenure with the organization that drafted him 22nd overall in 2019.
But did Williams see it that way?
Coming soon… pic.twitter.com/FM2Ux3bXRh
— KENNY BEECHAM (@KOT4Q) November 10, 2023
In an appearance on The Kenny Beecham Pod, he told the host of the eponymously named show, “Whatever that Magic Johnson meme is, let’s just say that,” adding, “That’s exactly how I was going into it.”
As part of a sign-and-trade that saw him ink a four-year, $53.3 million deal, he wound up going to the Dallas Mavericks in a three-team trade also involving the San Antonio Spurs. The Celtics received a $6.2 million traded player exception and the more favorable of the Chicago Bulls or New Orleans Pelicans’ 2024 second-round picks and Dallas’s 2030 Round 2 selection.
Boston also gained the right to swap a previously acquired 2025 second-round pick (the more favorable of the Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, or Detroit Pistons) with the Mavericks’ 2025 second-round selection.
Williams is producing 11.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and drilling 50 percent of the 5.4 attempts he’s hoisting from beyond the arc. He’s started all ten games for Dallas, who’s 8-2, tied with the Denver Nuggets for the best record in the Western Conference.