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Report: Payton Pritchard to play for USA Select Team

The Boston Celtics guard will be scrimmaging against Team USA ahead of the FIBA World Cup.

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

After a season where his role with the Boston Celtics was greatly diminished, Payton Pritchard is looking to get some extra basketball in during the offseason. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Pritchard will be joining the USA Select Team in Las Vegas where they will train and scrimmage against the Team USA roster. This comes ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup kicking off in the Philippines, with Team USA taking on New Zealand on August 26th, 8:40 am EST.

Pritchard, 25, is entering the final year of his rookie scale contract and will hit unrestricted free agency next offseason. After playing a key bench role during the Celtics 2022 NBA Finals run, the former Oregon Duck saw his minutes take a dive with the addition of Malcolm Brogdon and a new head coach in Joe Mazzulla. The changes over the season led to frustration for Pritchard, and soon enough rumblings of his desire to be traded came to the surface.

Initially, rumors emerged near the NBA trade deadline this past season concerning Pritchard’s unhappiness in his role, and his desire for a trade resurfaced as recently as June 1st. The Suns were reportedly interested in his services, and near the 2023 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz were a team linked to the sharpshooter before Boston pulled off multiple trades and moved back into the second round to take Summer League standout Jordan Walsh.

A great deal of Pritchard’s discontent was well-warranted, as he quickly plummeted to the bottom of the guard depth chart behind Marcus Smart, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon. That kind of situation was unavoidable when you acquire that much pure talent at one position; without trotting out a LOT of three guard lineups, there was no way to organically produce enough minutes to keep four guys who play the same position happy.

However, the situation may be very different in Boston following the Kristaps Porzingis trade, with Marcus Smart now looking to be Tony Allen 2.0 in Memphis and clearing up minutes in the backcourt. Boston has done their best to mend fences with Malcolm Brogdon after almost trading him, and the latest report from Heavy’s Steve Bulpett stated the Celtics have no interest in dealing him. It very well may be posturing, but with no Marcus Smart in the fold, the Celtics shouldn’t be eager to further dismantle their backcourt unless it brings in a clear-cut upgrade.

Whether or not Brogdon is staying in Boston, there’s now a window of opportunity for Pritchard to get a foothold and vault back into the Celtics bench rotation. Pritchard joining up with the USA Select Team may be indicative of where his mind is at as he approaches a bounce-back season in Year 4.

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