Celtics Rumors: Robert Williams III Drawing Interest Ahead of 2022 NBA Trade Deadline

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 26, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 14: Robert Williams III #44 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on January 14, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III has reportedly "drawn interest" ahead of the 2022 NBA trade deadline on Feb. 10.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported Wednesday that rival executives don't expect the Celtics to move Williams despite the interest because they view him as "part of the core" alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Williams is putting together a strong 2021-22 season despite a limited offensive role (5.9 field-goal attempts per game). He's averaged 9.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.9 assists while shooting 73.8 percent from the field.

The 6'9", 237-pound Texas A&M product would have likely been viewed as an emerging All-Star in an earlier era, but his peak value is less certain in a modern game that's moved toward stretch bigs. He's an old-school post player who hasn't made a three in his career.

The 24-year-old has still made a positive impact at both ends of the floor while ranking tied for 77th among all NBA players in FiveThirtyEight's WAR metric.

Given the league's 30 teams, that ranking would agree with the assessment rival executives gave Scotto that he can be a core player behind an offensively gifted tandem like Tatum and Brown.

In December, Williams credited first-year Celtics head coach Ime Udoka for putting faith in him after he posted his first career triple-double in a win over the Phoenix Suns, who own the NBA's best record.

"He believes in me a lot," Williams told reporters. "I'm thankful for the way he pushes me every day."

Boston has struggled to string together wins for most of the season, which is why it continues to hover around .500 (25-24) and there's been talk of potentially shaking up the core before the deadline.

The Celtics have shown signs of life lately by winning seven of their past 10 games, however, and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported earlier in January the front office had "no interest" in splitting up the Tatum-Brown duo.

Williams would be next on the list in terms of players who could command a significant return, but he's under contract through the 2025-26 season as part of a team-friendly four-year, $48 million deal, so there's no pressure to move him.

So, despite all the buzz around the Celtics in recent weeks, it sounds like they won't be involved in any blockbusters leading up to the deadline.