Proposed Celtics Trade Swaps Guard for Recent Lottery-Selected Big

Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics

Getty Payton Pritchard of the Boston Celtics talks with Marcus Smart.

After falling to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics have been urged by fans and media pundits alike to make some adjustments and alterations to better their odds of achieving greater success come next season and beyond.

Though it may not be the splashy blockbuster that those such as The Ringer’s Brian Barrett have been suggesting, Bobby Krivitsky of Sports Illustrated believes that a swap of point guard Payton Pritchard and 2020 lottery-selected big Jalen Smith of the Indiana Pacers is a move worth exploring.

“Jalen Smith is someone Boston expressed interest in leading up to the 2022 trade deadline. The tenth overall pick in Pritchard’s draft class (2020) is coming off a campaign where he averaged 9.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and nearly a block per game in 18.8 minutes. For Indiana, it’s a chance to add a competitive on-ball defender who can play with and without the rock at the other end and showed himself well in the 2022 playoffs,” Krivitsky wrote.

Krivitsky would continue by suggesting that a deal could be as simple as a one-for-one swap of Payton Pritchard for Jalen Smith, as the two are still attached to rookie-scale contracts within the same salary range.

“If the Pacers view this as a deal worth making, the salaries allow for a one-for-one swap, with Pritchard on the books for just over $4 million next season and Smith earning slightly north of $5 million,” Krivitsky wrote.

On June 2, The Athletic’s Jay King reported that Payton Pritchard hopes to be traded away from the Celtics this summer, which, naturally, has stirred up rumblings about possible transactions that could be made to adhere to his wishes.

Not only would Krivitsky’s proposal respect Pritchard’s desires, but it would help better fill out the frontcourt rotation for Boston while simultaneously adding a potential long-term heir apparent to the power forward position as veteran Al Horford heads into the final year of his deal with the C’s.

Celtics Could Hold Out on Deal With Payton Pritchard

Though Payton Pritchard may be looking for a ticket out of Beantown this offseason, the Celtics by no means have to comply. At least, that’s what one Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney, as they suggested the longer they hold out, the higher his trade value could get.

“The way things have worked recently is you find that teams do not want to trade guys on their rookie contracts because you’re going to get more value by trading him after he gets that big contract bump. So they’re not going to be in a hurry to move him just to move him because they can do better by waiting,” the executive told Deveney.

However, the GM did also address the fact that being the Celtics are “trying to win a championship,” they may be open to offloading Payton Pritchard for “an upgrade somewhere else,” and suggested that the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers could be realistic destinations for his services.

Shaq Says Celtics Should Split Up Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown

Though the star tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown has seen an ample amount of success throughout their six-year tenure together, after falling short yet again of banner number 18 questions regarding their future have been heavily discussed.

Though to some the goal for Brad Stevens and company should be to keep ahold of the duo, considering their championship shortcomings coupled with each of their eligibility to sign supermax contract extensions this summer, former Celtics big man and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal suggests that it’s time to split up the Jays.

“I don’t want five stars on my team. I want a guy that I can go to every night, I want a guy that’s going to lead, and I want three dogs, three others. I would prefer if they were specialists: one to be a shooter, one to be a rebounder, and one to be a fighter,” O’Neal said on The Big Three Podcast. “I would, business-wise, break [Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown] up and use one of them to get the pieces I want. I will say Tatum is the number one, use Brown to bring in a Brown-type player, and then just do it like that.”

O’Neal would continue by suggesting that not only would such a move be beneficial for the Celtics, but also for Jaylen Brown himself as he’d finally be able to serve as a team’s full-time lead option, which is something that has not been the case during his time running alongside Tatum.

“I can tell that it frustrates him to be the ‘other guy’,” O’Neal said.

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