Celtics Guard Likely ‘Frustrated’ With Situation: Sources

Payton Pritchard of the Boston Celtics.

Getty Payton Pritchard of the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics have jumped out to a roaring start this year, topping the Eastern Conference with a 13-3 record. They’ve put together a deep squad that has left some younger players out of the rotation.

Most notably, guard Payton Pritchard’s minutes have been cut because Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White are in front of him. And according to a source who spoke with Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney, Pritchard is likely disappointed with his decrease in playing time.

“He must be frustrated. He knows he can play,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “He can shoot it, he can run a team. A lot of teams would have him as their first guard off the bench, but this team is so deep, and it has so many versatile guys they can use at both guard spots. But he seems to be handling it like a pro. He is ready when they call on him. There are going to be stretches where they need him to produce, and he is doing that.”

During a five-game stretch from November 9 to 16, Pritchard more than doubled his on-court minutes — including playing 24 minutes against the Atlanta Hawks on the 16th — because of injuries to Smart and Brogdon, but his season average is still sitting at 11.4 minutes per contest. It’s lowest number of his three-year career, down almost eight minutes per game from his rookie year.

So far, he’s appeared in just nine of Boston’s 13 games, averaging 5.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 47.6% shooting from the field and 40.9% shooting from beyond the arc.


Celtics Unlikely to Trade Pritchard

Despite decreasing Pritchard’s playing time, Boston is unlikely to trade him, the executive said. With the multitude of injuries they’ve already dealt with, they don’t want to be left empty-handed.

“I doubt they’d move him this year,” the executive said. “He is too much of a luxury for that guard unit. Maybe in the offseason when he is looking at free agency [restricted, in 2024], if they know he is not their guy, they could do something then.”

Pritchard has only one year left on his rookie contract after this season. He will be making a bit more than $4 million.


All Reports Indicate Pritchard’s Safety in Boston

Others have shared the Eastern Conference executive’s sentiments this season. In late October, other sources who spoke with Deveney noted that the Celtics likely wouldn’t be trading Pritchard any time soon because he’s a crucial part of their depth.

“He is on his rookie deal, and as long as that is the case, he is tough to move unless you package him with a guy like Derrick White or Robert Williams,” the executive told Deveney. “I don’t see that happening. The reality is they have already seen some injuries eat into their depth, and they know that Brogdon is an injury candidate, Marcus Smart has had some injuries, and the way he plays, he is always a risk. They value the depth more than what they might get in a trade, for now at least.”

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