The February 9 trade deadline is now just three weeks away, and the Boston Celtics have to decide whether to stand pat and trust their current roster or look to improve their rotation with a trade.
According to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg, now is the time for the Celtics to go all-in and make a trade to add further depth to their league-leading roster as they search for their first NBA championship since 2008.
“While this armchair general manager would probably tend to err on the side of caution, there is one strong argument for being slightly more reckless: Opportunities to compete for a championship are never guaranteed and, if the Celtics believe they have a legitimate title chance — which a half-season worth of returns seems to confirm — then mildly overpaying for even a small bit of potentially surplus depth isn’t the worst crime,” Forsberg wrote.
The Celtics have numerous traded player exceptions, a disabled player exception, and players such as Payton Pritchard and Danilo Gallinari that they can float in trade talks should Brad Stevens look to be active around the trade deadline.
Celtics Advised To Trade Payton Pritchard
In a January 16 article for The Athletic, Jared Weiss provided some reasoning as to why trading away Pritchard could be in the best interests of both the team and the player, as the third-year guard has fallen down the pecking order since the off-season arrival of Malcolm Brogdon.
“Much like with Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford, maybe Pritchard can show signs of fulfilling his potential with a consistent role. That’s the downside to being drafted to a contender that manages to maneuver deals for veteran depth at the same time. This may be the best thing for both sides, as Pritchard and his teammates have made it apparent he deserves more of a chance elsewhere,” Weiss wrote.
Pritchard endured a similar issue to begin the 2021-22 season, as he struggled to usurp Dennis Schroder before the veteran guard was traded at the deadline. Unfortunately for Pritchard, Brogdon projects to be with the Celtics for the foreseeable future, further limiting his chances of becoming a regular member of their rotation.
Celtics Warned About Trading More Draft Picks
According to Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, Brad Stevens should be cautious when it comes to including any future draft picks in trade discussions, as Jaylen Brown’s current contract makes him a flight risk, and the team may need some draft assets to rebuild on the fly should they lose one of their best players for nothing.
“Boston has the capacity to dangle first-rounders in 2025, 2027 and 2029. The latter is too far away to spotlight…Rival teams should be most interested in the 2025 selection. It conveys relatively soon yet post-dates Brown’s entry in 2024 free agency. The current extension rules make it prohibitive for him to sign one, so he will hit the open market. This isn’t to imply Brown is a flight risk, but he could be,” Favale wrote.
Brown’s current contract will see him become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2023-24 season; however, should he make an All-NBA team, be crowned Defensive Player of the Year, or win an MVP award, he will become eligible for a supermax contract, which could be enough to keep him in Boston long-term.