The sharpshooting point guard registered career lows in minutes, points, assists, and rebounds this season as he struggled to earn a legitimate role in the rotation. As such, rumors about Prtichard’s happiness on the Celtics roster began to surface around the February 9 trade deadline.
Now that the season is over, Pritchard is widely expected to be traded to a new team. According to Keagan Stiefel of NESN, one team that could potentially emerge as a landing spot for Boston’s floor spacing guard is the Los Angeles Lakers, as they look to improve their perimeter scoring and ball-handling off the bench.
“The Lakers haven’t been able to shoot the ball for the majority of LeBron James’ tenure, which is something Pritchard could help with,” Stiefel wrote. “DeAngelo Russell and Austin Reaves are question marks, so a big-time backup plan could be bringing in a man who shot 46/40/100 in his second season.”
Pritchard has been with the Celtics since being drafted with the 26th pick in 2020, so while it’s fair that he would prefer to go somewhere with playing time, Celtics fans would likely prefer it not be to the franchise’s most storied rivals.
Orlando Could Have an Interest in Payton Pritchard
According to an Eastern Conference Executive who spoke with Heavy on Sports’ Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, the Orlando Magic could also emerge as a potential landing spot for Payton Pritchard this summer.
“It would be a surprise if they move him unless they get a very good offer,” The executive said. “You see it more and more that teams want to wait to give a player the extension, then trade him when the extension kicks in because it gives you higher leverage. Orlando has had its eye on him; that is an interesting potential fit.”
Assuming the Magic were able to acquire Pritchard during the postseason, they would likely be able to ensure he gets the playing time he deserves, especially given his ability to play both guard positions and be a scoring threat when operating both on and off the ball.
Payton Prtichard Wants to Have a Role
During a January 29 appearance on the Point Forward podcast with Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala, Payton Pritchard made it clear that whatever team he ends up joining after the Celtics, he wants to ensure he has a genuine role within their rotation.
“I definitely do. It’s obviously what I work for,” Pritchard said. “I think that’s what Brad and them know, too. We’ve had that discussion but — a bigger role. I want to be part of a winning culture but I want to also help that, be a really big piece of that. I’m not saying it’s the best player on the team but I don’t know what my future holds unless I can take that next step.”
Now that the Celtics season is over and the offseason is fast approaching, it will be interesting to see what Brad Stevens decides to do in regard to Pritchard’s future with the franchise. However, it’s clear that the third-year guard doesn’t want another season of warming the team’s bench.