The clock is ticking on a contract extension for Grant Williams, but the Celtics forward doesn’t seem worried about it.
Less than two weeks remain until Oct. 17, which is the deadline for the Celtics and Williams to finalize a contract extension. Williams is eligible for an extension because he’s entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, and if a deal isn’t reached, the two sides will have to wait until next offseason to figure something out.
Asked for an update on contract talks during Wednesday morning’s shootaround before the Celtics’ preseason game against the Raptors, Williams wasn’t giving it much thought.
“I couldn’t even tell you,” Williams said. “I leave that stuff up to my agents, that’s between my agents, Brad (Stevens), (Mike) Zarren and those guys. Whatever they want to get done, they want to get done. But for me, I’m just approaching every single day as if I either have it or I don’t have it. Just play the game the right way, make sure the team’s winning and focus on the ultimate goal of mine and that stuff will take care of itself. For me, I’m so locked in on the basketball side of things. Contract, anything of that nature, if it happens I’ll be happy, but until then, let’s just play it out the way we are.”
Williams is looking to take another step forward this season after making huge strides last year as he became a threat defensively and with 3-pointers, shooting 41.1 percent from 3-point range while consistently being asked to defend some of the best scorers in the league. The 23-year-old might have a heavier workload to start the season because of the absence of Rob Williams (left knee surgery), but he seems ready for whatever role he’s assigned.
“If it changes, I’ll see,” Williams said. “But for me, I just go with what the day comes. There might be a day when I’m asked to guard somebody. It might be a day where I’m asked to play a different role. For me, it’s just a matter of perspective, understanding where you’re at and not trying to force anything because opportunity might be available, but you have to do your job to seize the opportunity the right way with the right mindset and right intensity.”
PELICANS: Zion Williamson scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds over 15 minutes late Tuesday night in his return after a lost season with a broken foot, as New Orleans beat Chicago.
Williamson looked explosive in his first game action in 17 months. His last game before he injured his right foot was on May 4, 2021 and doctors did not deem him 100% healthy until May.
“It was just kind of getting a feel for it again,” Williamson said. “Finding spots. Picking and choosing when I want to attack. Got a new team since the last time I played. Still learning some of the guys. Today, we were able to click. If we can do that for the rest of these preseason games, I feel like we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
Cameras frequently caught Williamson smiling throughout Tuesday’s game. Following Saturday’s open practice, Williamson said he is ready to be part of “something special” in New Orleans. There is a long road ahead, but Tuesday’s preseason win in Chicago was a good first step.
“It’s almost like that college bond you have when everyone is so close,” Williamson said. “With this team, everyone wants to see each other succeed. Whenever anybody does something, we’re all celebrating it. You can see it.”
WIZARDS: Corey Kispert is expected to miss four to six weeks because of a sprained left ankle, the team announced Wednesday.
Kispert stepped on an opponent’s foot during Sunday’s preseason game in Japan against the Golden State Warriors. The Wizards open the regular season Oct. 19 at Indiana, so this timetable would certainly keep Kispert out for the first few games.
The 6-foot-6 Kispert, Washington’s first-round draft pick before last season, averaged 8.2 points in 77 games as a rookie.
Patriots notebook: Jones limping at Wednesday’s walkthrough practice