The Boston Celtics added Derrick White to their rotation at the February trade deadline, in a bid to shore up their rotation and further improve their defense and offensive decision-making.
It’s fair to say that White’s addition to the rotation had the desired effect, as the San Antonio Spurs product helped lead Boston to the NBA Finals, where the team suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Golden State Warriors in game 6.
However, throughout the summer, Boston has acquired Malcolm Brogdon – and now, the team’s guard rotation looks a little crowded, meaning some high-level talent might not get the minutes they deserve. As such, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey believes the Celtics should look to move on from White this season, although he has stopped short of recommending who Boston should target in any potential trade.
“The Celtics have since added Malcolm Brogdon—essentially a souped-up version of White—to their backcourt. With Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Payton Pritchard all capable of handling guard minutes as well, Boston could move White (and his cumbersome $16.9 million cap hit) without missing a beat,” Bailey wrote on October 7.
White has been an ever-present in Boston’s rotation since joining via trade, and last season, the 28-year-old veteran participated in 26 regular season games, averaging 11 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 30.6% from deep and 50.4% from two-point range.
Celtics Could Trade Gallinari & Pritchard
While it makes sense to consider trading White due to his contract value and the addition of Malcolm Brogdon, there are other avenues the Celtics could look to explore in terms of making trades.
According to Masslive’s Brian Robb, Boston could explore what sort of trade market is available for a package of Danilo Gallinari and Payton Pritchard, thus removing the need to move on from White, while also potentially helping to bring in a valuable front-court addition.
“If the Celtics want a real upgrade on the wing, they will need to use Danilo Gallinari’s contract ($6.5 million) as filler and then use Pritchard or draft pick compensation as sweetener in a deal. I’d expect them to go after a big over a wing on that front though, barring injury,” Robb wrote in his October 7 article.
Sure, trading away a recent addition who suffered a serious injury during the off-season wouldn’t provide the best optics for Boston’s front office, but if you can find a legitimate forward who can impact winning, then easing your guard congestion while moving on from Gallinari would make perfect sense.
Pritchard Could be Traded on His Own
According to John Hollinger of The Athletic, Boston could simply look to trade away Pritchard in a smaller deal, simply to ease some of the congestion at the guard positions, and to potentially add some late-round draft assets back into their cupboard.
“Deeper on the bench are two other decent options in Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard; Williams becomes very important now, as he’ll need to soak up frontcourt minutes with Gallinari out and Robert Williams uncertain. However, the backcourt is now crowded enough that one wonders if Boston should trade Pritchard for more size,” Hollinger wrote.
Pritchard is one of Boston’s best shooting talents, and can score off the catch and off the dribble, so right now, it’s not a certainty that Boston would be willing to move on from the third-year guard if there wasn’t a considerable return coming back their way.
Pritchard appeared in 71 regular-season games last season, averaging 6.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and two assists per game, while shooting 41.2% from deep – those types of numbers are hard to find from a third-string guard, so there’s a real chance Pritchard has cemented himself within the Celtics rotation for the foreseeable future – or at least, for the coming months.