There’s no denying that the Boston Celtics have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA this season, both in star talent and Impactful depth.
However, no team is ever the finished product, and for Boston, their biggest weakness lies in the front court, or more specifically, at the power-forward position. At the start of the free agency period, Brad Stevens felt he had addressed the team’s need for an additional forward by signing Danilo Gallinari to the mid-level exception.
Unfortunately, Gallinari suffered an ACL injury while playing for Italy in the Eurobasket tournament, and now, the team’s forward depth looks precarious once again. According to Masslive’s Brian Robb, the Celtics could look to resolve that issue later in the season, by packaging Gallinari and Payton Pritchard in a deal to acquire an impactful forward.
“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.
Robb does stop short of mentioning who he thinks the trade target should be, but at the moment, any battle-tested veteran is going to be.
There Are Trade Options Without Including Pritchard
It’s true, adding a young guard like Pritchard into trade negotiations could help soften the blow or acquiring an injured Gallinari, who may or may not pick up the player option on his contract for next season.
But, there if Boston was willing to attach some draft assets to a deal, they could retain the third-year guard if they believe in his development and ability to play a role this season. Of course, whenever you’re looking to dump a contract, the Oklahoma City Thunder should be the first team you reach out to, as they’re usually receptive to trades involving future picks.
As such, a deal like this could work for both sides
Celtics Gets: Darius Bazley
Thunder Gets: Danilo Gallinari and a 2023 second-round draft pick via the Orlando Magic.
At six-foot-eight, and 22 years old, Bazley is certainly a player for the future but would fit in with the Celtics rotation in terms of additional size and physicality. However, there is a slight drawback: Bazley has struggled from deep since entering the NBA, and this past season, converted on just 29.7% of his three-point attempts. Still, if Boston wanted to find a high-upside talent, and the Thunder were willing to enter into trade talks, this type of deal could help the franchise avoid moving on from Pritchard.
John Hollinger Expects Pritchard to be Traded
When looking at Boston’s depth at the guard positions, it’s unclear how Pritchard is going to fit in this season – especially when it comes to finding regular rotation minutes throughout the regular season.
According to John Hollinger of The Athletic, Pritchard could now be seen as a potential trade chip by the front office if they’re looking to acquire some additional front-court depth.
“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 on October 6.
Last season, Pritchard appeared in 71 regular-season games for Boston, averaging 6.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and two assists per game, while shooting 41.2% from deep – it’s that shooting ability that will have rival teams interested in striking a deal for the young guard, but it might also be what helps Pritchard crack Boston’s rotation this season.
Regardless, Pritchard has proven capable of being a consistent member of a team’s bench rotation, and he will surely find minutes in the coming season – either in Boston or elsewhere.