Celtics Rookie Nears Franchise Record, Could Allow for Payton Pritchard Trade

JD Davison, now of the Boston Celtics.

JD Davison, now of the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics have put together one of the best rosters in the NBA. Despite some struggles over the past month, they still lay claim to the best record in the league and are in a prime position to be contending for the championship by the end of the season.

But right now, their focus should be on the trade deadline. Whether they make moves or not, they still need to take stock of their roster. And with how well JD Davison has been playing for the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League team, Payton Pritchard could be more expendable than people realize.

“Celtics two-way rookie JD Davison logged 16 points and 16 assists for Maine tonight, finishing one assist shy of the franchise record.

“Two-way player Mfiondu Kabengele added 29 points (12-14 FG) in the 132-115 win over the Grand Rapids Gold, pushing Maine to 7-0,” tweeted Celtics team reporter Taylor Snow.

Boston selected Davison with the 53rd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, signing him to a two-way contract shortly after. He performed well during Summer League, and since then, has looked solid in the G League. 

The 20-year-old guard has appeared in 18 games for the Maine Celtics this year, playing 32.9 minutes per contest. He’s averaging 14.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game on 48.7% shooting from the field and 28.6% shooting from beyond the three-point arc.

Davison isn’t a great shooter, but he’s freakishly athletic for his height and has proven to be an above-average game manager. Trading Pritchard at the deadline for help at a different position could be a smart move for Boston, especially if Davison continues to develop at the rate he currently is.

Celtics Could Trade Payton Pritchard for Jae Crowder

With Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon manning the guard spot, Boston could deal Pritchard for help on the wing or at the big man position. One potential trade target, suggested by Bobby Krivitsky of Sports Illustrated, could be Phoenix Suns forward and former Celtic Jae Crowder.

“Another intriguing potential reunion would be with Jae Crowder, who remains separated from a Suns team that could use him in their rotation,” Krivitsky wrote. “Barring an unlikely resolution that keeps Crowder in the desert, expect him to get dealt by the Feb. 9 trade deadline…However, along with Pritchard, Crowder figures to cost the Celtics a future first-round pick.”

Danilo Gallinari Could Be Perfect Trade Bait for Celtics

In addition to utilizing Pritchard’s value, the Celtics could potentially choose to trade Danilo Gallinari’s contract in a deal. The forward has not appeared in a game for Boston after tearing his ACL at EuroBasket over the summer.

“It might be somewhat cold to trade him as he rehabs without having never played a minute in a Celtics jersey,” wrote Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “Alas, it goes back to the bottom line: The Celtics are on a quest for a title, and you have to use every asset available. Gallinari’s $6.5 million salary creates avenues for adding talent that might preserve a diminished draft stash and potentially keeps from adding to a stiff luxury tax bill.”

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