Just one year after making it to the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics find themselves beginning their offseason earlier than expected. The Celtics lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat and they now enter an offseason where they will have to make key decisions pertaining to their roster. All-Star Jaylen Brown is up for an extension, Grant Williams will be a free agent and former first-round pick Payton Pritchard may be ready to take his talents elsewhere.
Pritchard has previously made the notion of him being open to a trade public and now, The Athletic's Jay King and Jared Weiss are once again shedding light on the 25-year-old guard's future in Boston. As King and Weiss state, Pritchard has “made it clear he hopes to be traded this summer,” which means current Celtics executive Brad Stevens could be very busy this offseason.
When looking at the Celtics roster, one of their main strengths lies in their backcourt depth. Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon all held prominent roles for Boston throughout the 2022-23 season, leaving very little minutes to be had for a player like Pritchard.
While he is a skilled player and a very underrated scorer given his size, Pritchard just isn't going to see time over the likes of the three lead guards in front of him on the team's depth chart. This is one of the main reasons why he is wanting a trade and this offseason, he will be entering the final year of his rookie deal.
At this point, it would be in the Celtics' best interest to trade Pritchard and see what they can get for him, especially since he would undoubtedly leave in free agency next summer. With the league's new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) rules coming into effect soon, Boston will not be able to keep everyone on their roster. Decisions will need to be made about who stays and who goes, which is why this decision should be an easy one.
Entering his fourth season in the league, Pritchard has played in a total of 185 games for the Celtics, averaging 6.6 points and 2.1 rebounds per game while shooting 40.0 percent from three-point range. He had arguably the best game of his young career late in the year, as Pritchard exploded for 30 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in the final game of the regular season against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Celtics cannot afford to keep Pritchard around on a new contract should they want to hold onto the likes of Brown, Williams and others. This is one of the main reasons, from Boston's point of view, why they should explore a trade for Pritchard this offseason.