Celtics, Robert Williams reportedly agree on 4-year extension

The 23-year-old center posted career-highs across the board last season after finally becoming a regular starter.

Robert Williams Celtics
Robert Williams III (44) blocks a shot by the Houston Rockets' Christian Wood. Winslow Townson/AP
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After a few years of flashes and inconsistency, Robert Williams finally got an extended opportunity to prove himself on the court for the Celtics last season. It looks like he made the right impression.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday that Boston and Williams had agreed to a four-year, $54 million contract extension. The deal would keep the man known as “Time Lord” in town through 2026.

The NBA insider also noted Williams’s deal will place him in the top half of the league’s centers by average annual salary.

The 23-year-old center cracked the starting lineup after the Celtics traded away Daniel Theis and made an immediate impact with his athleticism, hustle and underrated playmaking ability.


Williams’s averages of 8.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 blocks in 18.9 minutes per game all represented career highs for a player who started 13 games in 2021. He also shot 72 percent from the field.

The fourth-year big man out of Texas A&M made headlines for his sky-scraping dunks as a lob threat on pick-and-rolls and as an active shot-blocker and defender in the paint. His percentage of opposing shots blocked ranked in the 97th percentile among NBA bigs, according to Cleaning the Glass.

Predictably, he also excelled as a rebounder thanks to his length, energy and ability to jump out of the gym, especially standing out on the offensive boards. Cleaning the Glass showed he recovered more than 14 percent of his own team’s missed shots, putting him in the top five percent of all big men.

Williams also displayed a knack for finding open teammates with passes out of the post, ranking among the best at his position in assist percentage and assist-to-usage ratio.

The trick for the dynamic center has been staying healthy: he’s missed almost half the Celtics’ games over his first three seasons due to various injuries.

If he can stay on the court, he’ll have a clear chance to improve on last year’s numbers. Boston cleared the runway for Williams further by trading Tristan Thompson to the Sacramento Kings and shipping recently acquired Moses Brown out of town as well.


Williams will come into the 2021-22 season as the clear starter, with backup bigs Enes Kanter, Al Horford, Luke Kornet and Tacko Fall around mainly for depth purposes.

The Williams extension comes just days after the Celtics announced a big new deal for veteran guard Marcus Smart, who will stay in Boston long-term on a four-year, $77 million deal.


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