The Boston Celtics are sitting pretty at the top of the NBA standings and they don’t really have a ton of urgent needs at the moment. That’s not going to keep them out of the NBA trade deadline rumor mill though.
Here’s the latest speculation/rumor via Steve Bulpett:
Not surprisingly, Pritchard’s new situation has other teams sniffing around. Clubs have been investigating whether he might be worth pursuing in a trade (he makes $2.2 million this year and $4.0 million next).
“You’ve got to wonder about him defensively at that size (listed at 6-1), but he plays hard, he can really push the ball and he’s got a nice stroke from 3,” said one personnel man. “I like what I see, but it’s hard to say for sure if he could do more with a better opportunity. And first you have to ask if he’s better than what you have and if he’ll even get more of a look with your team. It’s hard to say, but I know I’m not the only team checking on him. It’s always natural in these situations.”
It makes sense that there would be interest in Pritchard. But does it make sense for the Celtics to have any desire to move him?
The Celtics were able to survive the early months without Robert Williams and if anything Luke Kornet cemented himself as a viable backup big man option.
With that said, there is a need for some more depth at the wing. Again, Sam Hauser has exceeded many people’s expectations off the bench, and some of the team’s guards are versatile enough to play up a position. However, when shots aren’t falling, it can be challenging finding minutes for the Jays to get some rest.
As we’ve gone over many times, the roster has a surplus of quality guards, which often pushes a legit option like Payton Pritchard right out of the regular rotation. He’s exceedingly valuable when any of the guards are missing time (something which Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and to a lesser degree Derrick White are all known to do). That’s what you might call a luxury on the roster. However, if there’s a greater need elsewhere, or if an injury creates a need, then moving Pritchard might make some sense (depending on the return).
The only other dynamic to keep in mind is the locker room dynamics. (I’m blatantly stealing this topic from John Karalis and Tom Westerholm by the way) When the team is doing as well as they are, Brad Stevens would have to think long and hard about changing that dynamic in any way. The one potential exception would be to “do right by” Payton and giving him a better situation to thrive in an expanded role elsewhere. Again, only if that outweighs his potential to help our team when he’s needed.
Long story short, Pritchard is a great guy to have around for injury insurance and an occasional change of energy and shooting threat off the bench. I understand why teams would come calling, but I can’t see him getting moved before the deadline unless it is part of a no-brainer package coming back.