While finding a new head coach to fill the vacancy created by his own promotion to team president is one major concern of the 2021 offseason for newly minted Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens, he’s got other major concerns on his plate to consider as well.
One of the tasks near the top of the list will be making a decision on whether to extend blossoming but often-injured big man Robert Williams III, and if so, for how much. While the Texas A&M product has become a force to be reckoned with when he’s on the court, his being on the court is one of the biggest considerations on if and for how much such an offer might being.
To that end, NBC Sports Boston’s “Celtics Talk” podcast recently hosted NBA cap expert Bobby Marks to talk tendering Timelord an extension offer this offseason.
Speaking with host Chris Forsberg, Marks related via NBC’s Justin Leger that a rookie extension “is the hardest contract you could negotiate.”
“You’re not bidding against anybody else, so it’s like salary arbitration where you basically have a deadline the day before the start of the regular season. That is the only deadline at all. I was looking at numbers, there’s only been seven players since 2018 who have been picked past pick No. 20 who have been extended.”
Boston does happen to have a pair of extended players on the Celtics now in All-Star wings Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but both were picked No. 3 overall in their respective drafts. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1403668431174615041?s=20
“Extensions are based on upside,” added Marks, something Williams oozes at times.
“If you go by the body of work of Robert Williams for three years, it says, ‘I want to see a little bit more.’ I want to see a player that’s healthy. I want to see him on the court for 70 games. I want to see him in a starter role for a whole year.”
“The beauty of it is that Brad [Stevens] has had him for three years and knows what his upside is, knows what he still needs to work on, knows what his strengths are,” observed the ESPN analyst. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1403648839207239682?s=20
There’s also the cap situation to consider, complicated by the other elephant in the room as far as new team president Stevens’ to-do list concerns — Kemba Walker‘s substantial contract in this in future seasons. How a Williams’ extension relates to that, queries Marks rhetorically, asking if “you [are] comfortable Kemba’s number might be off your books by then? Are you comfortable paying the luxury tax for a second year?” https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1403623155084767234?s=20
“Eventually we’re going to get another infusion of national TV money,” he suggests.
“So by … 2023, ’24, in that area, this cap is going to go up again. And eventually, in Year 2 of that Robert Williams extension or Year 3, paying him $17 million a year might be kind of like a team-friendly contract now because the cap’s going to go up.”
“If he’s part of your future and you think his upside is high, you don’t need to go out and pay him $25 million, but there’s got to be some kind of compromise there,” adds Marks. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1403577872036601858?s=20
Without knowing the medical outlook on the Louisiana native’s health, it’s hard to say what a fair offer might be for Williams to balance the risk vs. his own potential. Perhaps around the $15-17 million per season range if he seems likely to be on the court more in the future, perhaps less guaranteed with some serious unlikely incentives in the mode of what both Brown and Tatum have agreed to if doubts linger. For Stevens at least, he can work on some other things — like Walker’s contract — in the time between now and that first day of the coming 2021-22 season. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=51913,51907,51891,51894] [listicle id=51909]