Celtics Predicted to Trade Payton Pritchard & Picks for Veteran Big Man

Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics

Getty Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics

If the Boston Celtics are going to use the trade market to upgrade their bench rotation, they’re running out of time to do so, with the February 9 trade deadline fast approaching.

According to Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, the Celtics have all of the necessary pieces to add a veteran center, should that be the route they wish to go down, and could build out a package involving third-year guard Payton Pritchard.

“It won’t be a major-ish acquisition in the vein of Jakob Poeltl that necessitates the inclusion of a 2025 first-rounder. It probably won’t even be a deal that sees them use their $5.9 million traded player exception (expires Feb. 10) without jettisoning other money in the process. But it will be a move that sees them use some combination of Pritchard, Danilo Gallinari’s contract (2023-24 player option) and second-rounders to reel in someone like Naz Reid, Mason Plumlee or Isaiah Hartenstein,” Favale wrote.

Any of Naz Reid, Mason Plumlee, or Isaiah Hartenstein would be a significant upgrade to Boston’s center rotation, although moving on from Pritchard is not something the team is likely to do before the summer, as the insurance he provides at the guard position is invaluable for a team looking to make a deep post-season run.

Payton Pritchard Wants A Bigger Role

During a recent guest appearance on the Point Forward Podcast, which is hosted by Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala, Payton Pritchard sent Celtics fans into a meltdown as he discussed his desire to have a bigger role within a teams 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 as long as I did it my way. That’s the most important thing for me,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard is currently averaging 4.9 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game while shooting 40.1% from the field and 33% from the perimeter, despite seeing his minutes take a significant dip due to the off-season arrival of Malcolm Brogdon.

Celtics Have ‘Mutual Interest’ In Buyout Candidate

Assuming Boston doesn’t want to part with any assets around the trade deadline, they could look to upgrade their roster via the buyout market – assuming the right type of player becomes available.

According to a league source who spoke with CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith, one player that holds a mutual interest with Boston is Will Barton, who has seen his role with the Washington Wizards dwindle throughout the season.

“Keep an eye on Will Barton, should he work a buyout with the Washington Wizards. A source told CelticsBlog, “There’s some mutual interest there. Barton would give them another scorer off the bench, and he has big game experience too.”…Chris Haynes reported on the #thisleague Uncut podcast that it’s increasingly likely Barton won’t finish the season with the Wizards. That makes him a buyout target for the Celtics,” The source told Smith. 

Barton, 32, would be an ideal addition to the Celtics rotation, capable of playing multiple wing positions, and is experienced enough to understand his role will be to support Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown rather than be a featured member of the offense.