Celtics Considered Suitors for ‘Sneaky-Good’ Former Lottery Pick

Zach Collins, Boston Celtics

Getty Zach Collins, Boston Celtics

There is no such thing as a complete roster, especially when you’re trying to win an NBA Championship, so it’s logical to expect the Boston Celtics to explore avenues to upgrade their current rotation.

According to Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz, one player Boston may enquire about is San Antonio Spurs big man Zach Collins as they look to improve their big man rotation off the bench.

“Adding one more frontcourt piece for depth would be ideal, especially as 36-year-old Al Horford is still averaging over 30 minutes a game…Collins is having a sneaky-good season for the San Antonio Spurs,” Swartz wrote on January 11.

Collins, 25, was selected with the 10th overall draft pick in 2017 and currently finds himself playing behind Jakob Poeltl on the Spurs bench; still, in 30 games this season, Collins is averaging 9.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 55.6% from the field and 36.7% from deep.

It’s worth noting that Collins currently earns $7.3 million, so the Celtics would be unable to use one of their trade exceptions to acquire him. As such, Danilo Gallinari would likely be the headline name heading to the Spurs in any deal, along with someone like Payton Pritchard or Justin Jackson.

Payton Pritchard Attracting Trade Interest

According to someone who recently spoke with Heavy On Sports NBA Insider Steve Bulpett, there are multiple teams keeping tabs on the potential availability of Pritchard as the trade deadline draws near.

“You’ve got to wonder about him defensively at that size (listed at 6-1), but he plays hard, he can really push the ball, and he’s got a nice stroke from 3,” said one personnel man. “I like what I see, but it’s hard to say for sure if he could do more with a better opportunity. And first, you have to ask if he’s better than what you have and if he’ll even get more of a look with your team. It’s hard to say, but I know I’m not the only team checking on him. It’s always natural in these situations,” Bulpett reported.

Pritchard has struggled for minutes this season due to the arrival of Malcolm Brogdon in the summer. However, he has proven himself as a legitimate floor spacing guard who can push the pace and defend well for his size. So, it makes sense that rival teams would be showing some interest in potentially acquiring him if the price is right.

John Hollinger Urges Pritchard To Find A New Team

On November 22, The Athletic’s John Hollinger released an article that listed Pritchard as one of the players in need of a fresh start, noting how the third-year guard’s development is currently being hindered by his lack of playing time.

“Pritchard is 25, shoots 41.2 percent career from 3, and has another year left beyond this one on a rookie contract that pays him peanuts. He’s valuable! He’s just less valuable to Boston right now than almost any other team. In his case, one out would seem to be as a trade chip to get Boston another big man. The Celtics have thus far survived the absence of Robert Williams III, with the help of some solid contributions from scrap-heap pickup Luke Kornet, but the injuries to Williams and Gallinari exposed what is perhaps the one weakness on a loaded Boston team,” Hollinger wrote.

Pritchard is currently averaging just 9.6 minutes per game – the lowest since entering the NBA and is putting up career-low numbers in points (4.3), rebounds (1.1), and assists (1), making it crystal clear that he does indeed need a fresh start on a team that can give him a consistent role off their bench.

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