In an ideal world, Grant Williams would have liked to secure a contract extension with the Celtics before Monday’s deadline. He wished he had no uncertainty about him all season, and he wished he was locked in with the C’s for years to come.
But a deal never materialized, and Williams is doing just fine.
As he enters the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, Williams was eligible for a rookie extension, but he and the Cs could not reach an agreement by Monday’s 6 p.m. deadline, which means he will be a restricted free agent next time around. summer. Williams, however, was not disappointed and he was ready to turn the page as the Celtics resumed their championship pursuit this season.
“It’s one of those things that you just have to walk through,” Williams said of Tuesday morning’s shootout. “You have your purpose and you just determine the value and for you you just have to perform. That’s all you have to do. … You go through negotiations, sometimes the negotiations don’t go the way you want them to. You can only persevere and move forward.
“Absolutely, you want this sorted out. You want to get a deal, you want to make sure you’re locked in with the guys you want to be with for years to come. But that doesn’t happen. For me, in terms of emotions, it doesn’t really affect my mind because at the end of the day, I’m going to go out and do what I do. Do the work that I am asked to do, perform in the situations that I have to accomplish and focus on the rest the following year. There are other things you can control, you can only control what you can and move on with that.
Williams realized a deal would not be reached around 5:30 p.m. Monday, when it was clear neither side was budging.
“I wasn’t straying from what I wanted, and I don’t think they were either,” Williams said.
Williams knows he could have secured some life-changing money had he accepted the Celtics’ offer. But the 23-year-old looks at the bigger picture.
While he can certainly bet on himself to have a breakout season and earn a bigger payday next summer, Williams has his eye on what offers like his mean for the league – we expect what the salary cap increases next season – and the standard he could set for players like him after emerging as a valuable 3-and-D threat last season.
“Everyone is crying out for life-changing money,” Williams said. “And that’s a good claim to have, but it’s one of those things that you never want to do a bad deal for (anyone) around you. When you look across the league, when you look at the role that i play in the players association the idea is that you understand where the league is going in the future and you understand where the league is now so for me it wasn’t about the money changing my life was about value not just for this year but for years to come.I think on both sides we all negotiated to get to this point.
“And there was no ill will, there was no frustration. It was one of those things that you just couldn’t accept. That doesn’t mean a deal won’t get done there. Next year does not mean that a deal will not be reached in the future.
“So for us it’s just a matter of perspective. Like, I want to make sure that not only is the deal that I’m taking is something that I feel confident about, but it’s something that doesn’t mess up the guys around me, it doesn’t mess up the market for the guys who do the things that I do. I feel like you’re looking at guys who haven’t taken extensions, they’re pretty much in the same position. And for me, that’s huge, that’s valuable, because I care about every player in this league. I care about every player in every organization who has to deal with free agency, who has to deal with the issues that we necessarily have in this league. So we are on the right track. We are on the right path. So we just have to go out there and do what we do.
Now essentially playing for a contract, Williams – who is expected to take on a bigger role to start the season in Rob Williams’ absence – could prove himself this season. But that’s not his approach. He wants to keep his energy playing his role for a team that aspires to the championship, and let the rest take care of itself afterwards.
“If you’re thinking about proving yourself, you’re more about the individual you’re thinking about,” he said. “For me, I’ve always been about the team. I’ve always been a guy who focuses his energy on improving his team and making the teammates around him happy. Make his teammates around him more excited to play the game every day of this long season. For me, that’s kind of my point of view. You must be that same person, that same human. Don’t let other things affect you and focus only on the things that matter. It’s winning and performing with the group of guys you have.