Leading up to free agency, there was an apparent fit between the Cavaliers and Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams. Williams appeared to be on the move from Boston this summer, and the Cavaliers could have been in a prime position to sign him on the MLE or acquire him in a sign-and-trade.
For the Celtics, Williams was a solid starter and backup option at either forward position, with solid interior and exterior defense paired with a talented offensive skillset. In his four-year tenure with the Boston Celtics, Williams averaged 6.2 points and shot 37.9 percent from 3-point range on 2.7 attempts per game. He also served as one of Boston’s go-to defenders against the league’s best forwards.
In the end, the Dallas Mavericks completed a sign-and-trade for Williams, guaranteeing him $54 million over the next four years. The Mavs sent Reggie Bullock and a handful of second-round picks in the deal to both the Celtics and Spurs. Considering the size of Williams’ contract in comparison to Strus’ and Niang’s, there is reason to believe the Cavaliers could have managed to acquire both players through sign-and-trades or direct deals with the MLE.
Unfortunately, Williams seemed to be just out of Cleveland’s reach, and there is still no confirmation whether or not he was even on the Cavaliers’ short list of targets from the start. Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman insisted that Strus was their number one option in free agency during a virtual media day posted to YouTube, suggesting that Williams was never really a main target.
While it would have been nice to make both deals work, it seems that you can’t always make both of them.
Following Williams, the Cavaliers were seemingly eyeing a stretch big before he left the market.