This East team ‘expected’ to be in mix for Celtics’ Grant Williams

Bringing back the same roster for the 2023-24 NBA season could be a difficult task for the Boston Celtics.

The new CBA will make expensive teams difficult to keep together long term, especially if role players are making a lot of money.

The Celtics have several difficult decisions to make in regards to their roster this offseason, and one of the most impactful will be Grant Williams’ future. The 2019 first-round pick’s rookie contract is about to expire, making him a restricted free agent. The 24-year-old forward will be able to sign offer sheets with other teams when free agency starts next month. The Celtics will have the right to match any offer sheet Williams might sign.

Which teams might pursue Williams?

Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer reported Thursday that “the Pacers are expected to be one team in the mix for restricted free agent Grant Williams.”

The Pacers are one of the few teams with salary cap space, and according to Spotrac, they are projected to have about $27 million in cap room this summer.

What could Williams’ next contract look like?

“I think his number is anywhere from probably the non-tax midlevel, which is at $12.2 million — I would say $12-14 million,” ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks said on NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics Talk Podcast earlier this month. “So now you’re looking at, and I’m working on an article that will come out later in the month, kind of a spending tiers, right? We have different tiers on how teams can spend here.

“So now you’re looking at Houston, Orlando, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, maybe Indiana. Indiana, potentially. Those teams. Detroit? Probably not. They’ve got a lot of bigs. Teams with cap space. Like, what team is going to go out and make an offer sheet? I think for Houston, certainly they’re going to go big-game hunting, big names here. Offer sheets are not — we saw DeAndre Ayton last year — teams have their cap space tied up for multiple days here (and that’s not ideal for them).”

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Indiana was supposed to be one of the league’s worst teams last season but the emergence of Tyrese Haliburton and other factors helped the franchise finish 35-47, good for 11th place in the East and six games out of a play-in tournament spot. The Pacers could certainly use a player of Williams’ caliber.

Williams, who averaged 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 points in 25.9 points per game last season, has developed into a valuable 3-and-D wing who can start games or come off the bench. He guards multiple positions defensively and can be deployed in many different small-ball lineups with his impressive outside shooting. After struggling in his rookie campaign, Williams has hit over 40 percent of his 3-point shots during the last two seasons.