A free agent offer sheet is coming for Grant Williams, likely on Thursday, and Boston knows it.
It’s why they have been looking for a sign-and-trade for the forward, but their asking price has been a first-round pick is a little steep. Jared Weiss has the details at The Athletic .
Though most of the league’s cap space has dried up at this point, the expectation with Williams has always been that a sign-and-trade or midlevel exception (MLE) would be the likely outcome. Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, New York and Washington are all still in the mix, according to league sources, with Williams eligible to sign an offer sheet on July 6. The Celtics have 24 hours to match once the sheet is signed.
Atlanta has been the most mentioned team as a suitor for Williams, but he will have the choice of signing the offer sheet of the team that offers the most money and/or the most wants to join. Weiss said Boston is expected to match any offer up to the mid-level exception — likely the max offer that comes in — which sparks the sign-and-trade talks for real. But no team is giving up a first-rounder in this case, it will be a couple of seconds and a player.
Why has the Williams situation dragged out? There’s a simple financial reason. Let’s use Williams as an example to make it clear: Hypothetically, if Atlanta gave an offer sheet to Williams on July 3 he could not sign it and make it official until the signing moratorium ends on July 6, then Boston would have 24 hours to match. Whatever happens, the Hawks’ cap space would be tied up for four days while the market kept moving and other players kept getting signed. Teams do not want to be caught flat-footed with their money tied up. It’s why teams wait until the sixth for offers on restricted free agents.
This is to say the Williams situation likely is taken care of before the weekend. Whatever happens, don’t expect Boston to get a first-round pick back.