Payton Pritchard’s Celtics Trade Demand Hit With Harsh Reality Check

Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics

Getty Payton Pritchard of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat in Game Two of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals.

On June 2, it was reported by The Athletic’s Jay King that Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard hopes to be traded this summer. Frankly, considering his diminished role within the rotation this past year despite putting forth impressive production when given an opportunity throughout his tenure with the team, it’s hard to blame him.

However, though it may be the guard’s desire to move on in search of greener pastures, when speaking with Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney, an anonymous Eastern Conference general manager gave said situation somewhat of a reality check, highlighting the fact that while Pritchard wants out of Beantown, Brad Stevens and company may not comply.

“The way things have worked recently is you find that teams do not want to trade guys on their rookie contracts because you’re going to get more value by trading him after he gets that big contract bump. So they’re not going to be in a hurry to move him just to move him because they can do better by waiting,” the executive told Deveney.

On the flip side of this standpoint, however, the GM did also go on to note that being the Celtics are “trying to win a championship,” they’d be open to offloading Payton Pritchard should they be able to “get an upgrade somewhere else.”

Jazz, Trail Blazers Listed as Possible Celtics Trade Partners

As far as which teams could show serious interest in the possibility of trading for the likes of Payton Pritchard, the general manager told Sean Deveney that there are two teams, in specific, that could end up contacting the Celtics.

“Utah is the team that would stand out just because Danny (Ainge) loves him, he picked him. That would probably take (Danilo) Gallinari’s deal to make it work, because the Celtics would take back Kelly Olynyk, you’d have to think. They’d probably want a pick from Utah in that kind of deal and that is where things would get sticky—you’d probably need a third team to get that going. But the Jazz are definitely on the look for a young point guard and he’d be on their list. Portland is another one, especially if they make a move on (Damian) Lillard. A good shooter who can organize the team would be the right fit there, and the Blazers are looking to add that kind of player, a guy who can shoot and play either guard spot,” the executive told Deveney.

Pritchard has strong ties to both of the organizations mentioned by the GM, as he’s a West Linn native who played collegiately for the Oregon Ducks while current CEO of basketball operations for the Jazz Danny Ainge served as GM and president for the Celtics during the 2020 NBA Draft where the point guard was selected 26 overall.

Kelly Olynyk ‘Ideal Third Big’ for Celtics

It seems as though the anonymous league executive isn’t the only one who sees the Utah Jazz as a realistic trade partner for Payton Pritchard, as Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz recently proposed a trade that would send the point guard out to Salt Lake City in exchange for former lottery-selected big, Kelly Olynyk.

Boston Celtics receive: Kelly Olynyk

Utah Jazz receive: Payton Pritchard, Danilo Gallinari

In his proposal, Swartz would explain that considering Boston’s poor shooting production during this year’s postseason run, specifically in the Eastern Conference Finals where they boasted a putrid 30.3% shooting clip from deep, a main point of emphasis for the Celtics this summer should be to add more competent shooters to their arsenal, and Olynyk could be the “ideal” grab.

“Olynyk makes his return to Boston a year after putting up 12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and shooting 39.4 percent in Utah. He’d be the ideal third big for this roster behind Al Horford and Robert Williams III. The point guard-needy Jazz should have interest in Pritchard entering the final year of his rookie deal. If the 25-year-old works out, Utah will have the right to make him a restricted free agent next summer. Gallinari can help out if he’s completely recovered from a torn ACL. If there are any setbacks, his $6.8 million player option runs out in 2024,” Swartz wrote.

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