Grade the Trade: Mavericks land Grant Williams in three-team trade

The Dallas Mavericks landed Grant Williams in a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, but what grade does each team deserve for the move?
Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks
Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks / Tom Pennington/GettyImages
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Grading the trade for the Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are certainly making big changes to their roster after failing to make a repeat NBA Finals appearance.

First, the Celtics dealt franchise stalwart and former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart in a three-team deal to the Memphis Grizzlies. In doing so, Boston received former Maverick Kristaps Porzingis.

And with yesterday's trade news, another valuable defender is gone from the Celtics roster. Boston's bread and butter has been defense over the past few seasons. In 2021-22, they finished with the highest defensive rating, and in 2022-23 they finished 2nd.

It's fair to wonder what the Celtics are doing. Sure, Williams may have wanted to sign with the Mavs, but he was a restricted free agent, so the Celtics could match any offer that came his way to retain his services.

All in all, Boston may be searching for bigger fish or setting their sights on the future with a Jaylen Brown extension looming.

Ultimately, this trade was a cost-cutting move. If Williams was retained, it would have raised the Celtics' luxury tax penalty this season by over $40 million. Additionally, with the trade, the Celtics will have a trade exception worth 50% of Williams' first-year salary.

Potential starting lineup: Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, Robert Williams III

The Celtics receive a C for this trade. Salary cap issues aside, Williams could have taken over Smart's role as the C's go-to defender. Now, with Williams out of town, the Celtics will place the burden on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to handle the opposing team's best forwards.

Boston Grade. C. The Celtics received draft compensation for RFA Grant Williams, but at what cost? The Celtics made this move with financials in mind, as Williams' deal would have put Boston deep into the luxury tax. However, Williams is now the second versatile defender to depart from Boston this offseason.. . Boston Celtics