Draft day trades give Cavaliers a shot at signing top free agent targets

Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images
Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Grant Williams, Boston Celtics. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

Porzingis blockbuster means Grant Williams could be available

The Boston Celtics had clearly decided coming into the offseason that they needed to turn a surplus in the backcourt into an addition in the frontcourt, and they did so in a major way by sending out Marcus Smart and getting Kristaps Porzingis back. The 7’3″ big man from Latvia quietly had the best season of his career this past year, and he should give the Celtics help on both ends of the court.

What this deal also does is increase the Celtics’ salary sheet, and push them up toward the second tax apron. Breaking that barrier would severely limit their ability to make moves and improve the roster down the road. When you factor in that they now have three bigs to play, the prospect of Boston committing major money to a fourth seems questionable.

That could mean that restricted free agent Grant Williams is available for another team to sign. The Cavaliers would certainly have interest; he is a good enough shooter to start at the 3 in a “jumbo” lineup similar in style (if not literal height) to the Lauri Markkanen year, and defensively he can guard bigger wings down to centers. He could start at the 3, then spend much of his time manning the power forward spot when only one of Evan Mobley or Jarrett Allen are on the court.

Prior to the Celtics’ big move, they were likely to match any deal for Williams, making it very unlikely that the Cavs could sign him to the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception. Now that’s in play, and as a contender with a starting spot to offer the Cavs would likely be at the top of the list of teams offering Williams the full MLE. He is worth much more, and could find it in Boston or elsewhere, but now there is at least a path to the Cavs winning out.