BOSTON (CBS) -- Grant Williams has become a pretty important piece of the Boston Celtics, carving out a regular role in Ime Udoka's rotation. He's also turned himself into a legit threat from downtown, showing off some incredible development in his third NBA season.
That evolution to his game has other teams interested in the forward, and Williams has suddenly entered the rumor mill ahead of Thursday afternoon's NBA trade deadline. The Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly discussing the framework for a deal that includes Williams, according to The Athletic's Jared Weiss.
The talks reportedly began over the weekend when the Celtics offered Dennis Schroder for Milwaukee guard Donte DiVincenzo. The Bucks scoffed at that, and countered by asking for Grant Williams, which the Celtics declined, according to The Athletic.
But the talks continue between Boston and Milwaukee, as Brad Stevens explores every avenue to get the Celtics under the tax lines this season. Keith Smith added to The Athletics' report Tuesday morning, but says that Williams' inclusion in the Schroder-DiVincenzo trade is causing the hold up.
(The Cleveland Cavaliers also reportedly remain interested in Schroder, via The Athletic, so the Celtics may have a trade partner elsewhere for the reserve guard and not have to part with Williams.)
It's interesting that Williams is now being discussed in deals, as he's become an important part of the Celtics' success. He is Udoka's first big off the bench, and he's shooting a career-best 48 percent from the floor and 43 percent from beyond the arc. But the fact that he is playing so well has him on the radar for other team's, and makes him a lot more appealing than the other parts that Stevens is looking to cast off, such as Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith.
But trading away a piece like Williams probably wouldn't sit well with everyone else on the roster, even if it does bring back a player like DiVincenzo. A Schroder-DiVincenzo swap would make sense, but adding Williams to the mix does not. Boston is finally playing some good basketball and inching closer to the top six in the Eastern Conference, and trading away a key reserve sends the message that Stevens and company don't believe this team can do much of anything when the postseason arrives.
It's a tough spot for Stevens to be in, with an owner telling him to get under the tax while players want him to invest in the team. We'll see how it all plays out come 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
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