“With the new onerous CBA rules looming after next season, the front office will likely have to decide in the next 12 months whether it can afford its expensive veteran depth. Payton Pritchard has made it clear he hopes to be traded this summer, according to multiple team sources, so will the Celtics move him if they trade one of their core guards?”
Pritchard’s role with the Celtics was substantially minimized after the team acquired Malcolm Brogdon last summer. With Brogdon on the team, Pritchard was the team’s fourth guard behind Brogdon, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White. Last season, Pritchard had a much bigger role with the Celtics but was only given one after they traded Dennis Schroder to the Houston Rockets.
Pritchard appeared in 48 games for the Celtics this season, where he averaged 5.6 points and 1.8 rebounds while shooting 41.2% from the field and 36.4% from three.
Brad Stevens Praises Payton Pritchard
While talking with reporters, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens praised Pritchard as a player while adding that he doesn’t know how things will end with him.
“I really feel for a guy like him. He’s a really good player,” Stevens said, per Brian Robb of MassLive. Stevens added that he does not know how things will shake out with Pritchard.
Stevens also made note of Pritchard’s work ethic.
“There are guys who work hard at it, and there are guys who are obsessed with it. He’s one of the ones who’s obsessed with it,” he said, per Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com.
Pritchard’s desire for a trade makes sense because he has been a rotation player for the Celtics in the past but has been put in the doghouse for multiple seasons now. He clearly wants a bigger role on the team that he plays for and doesn’t want playing time only when someone on the team is hurt.
Coming into the 2023-24 season, Pritchard will make $4 million this coming season in the last year of his rookie contract. His affordable contract could very well prove to be attractive to interested suitors, though it may also depend on what the Celtics would want back for Pritchard.
Joe Mazzulla Explained Payton Pritchard Playing in Game 1
Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla made an interesting decision when he played Payton Pritchard in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.
The day after the Celtics lost the game, Mazzulla explained why he went with Pritchard despite Pritchard not having played all that much time in the playoffs.
“I thought Payton gave us an opportunity with his shooting,” Mazzulla said. “With his playmaking. And his pick-and-roll defense. Like we’ve said before, Grant is always gonna be ready. And we’ve built a lot of versatility and depth in our lineup to where we can go in a lot of different ways, and we trust that anybody we call on will be ready.”
Pritchard appeared in Games 3 through 7, though his playing time came when the games had been all but decided.