As the Boston Celtics navigated the February 9 trade deadline, rumors were floating around regarding Brad Stevens shopping Payton Pritchard in trade discussions.
Unfortunately, those discussions never amounted to much, and Pritchard will remain on Boston’s roster until at least the end of the season. However, according to the third-year guard, who was speaking with Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, he was expecting to be moved in a deal and was surprised he didn’t find himself on a new team when the deadline passed.
“I definitely was expecting and hoping [for a trade],” Pritchard said, “But you know, I [have to] look at the good things. We’re the best team in the NBA right now and we have a great team with really great players, so for me it’s an opportunity to learn and to keep growing.”
Pritchard is currently experiencing his lowest minutes per game averages since entering the league, as he struggles to earn playing time behind Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon.
Celtics Offered Pritchard in Trade Package
According to Masslive’s Brian Robb, the Celtics offered Pritchard in a potential trade for veteran big man Jakob Poeltl, only for the San Antonio Spurs to strike a deal with the Toronto Raptors instead.
“League sources tell MassLive that Boston offered Payton Pritchard, Danilo Gallinari, and multiple future second-round picks for the big man ahead of Thursday’s deal. Ultimately, the Spurs elected to go with the Raptors’ offer which included a top-6 protected first-round pick for 2024, two future second-round picks, and center Khem Birch,” Robb reported.
After missing out on Poeltl, the Celtics pivoted, acquiring Mike Muscala in a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder instead – a trade that already looks like smart business, given Muscala’s impressive performance in the February 10 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
Prtichard Wants a Bigger Role
When speaking on a recent episode of The Point Forward podcast with Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala, Pritchard revealed his desire to be on a team where he can play an important role in their rotation.
“I definitely do. It’s obviously what I work for. 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. I don’t know what it is in five or 10 years but I just want to look back and know that I put my best foot forward. I put all the work in so whatever happens I can live with it as long as I did it my way. That’s the most important thing for me,” Pritchard said.
Since entering the NBA as the 26th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Pritchard has averaged 6.4 points, 2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 42.8% from the field and 39.7% from deep. And has also garnered significant experience in the playoffs, helping Boston make it to the NBA Finals in 2022.