One of the biggest surprises of the trade deadline in 2023 for the Boston Celtics was Payton Pritchard sticking with the team — this despite comments indicating he wanted a bigger role and has discussed that with Celtics management.
That won’t be coming this postseason unless Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, or Derrick White suffer an injury, so the writing may be on the wall for Pritchard’s time in Boston. Boston.com’s Tom Westerholm knows this.
Westerholm, in a trade deadline recap examining 10 takeaways from the team’s dealings on February 9, explained what the future could hold for Pritchard and the Boston Celtics with the third-year guard still in green:
"“The Celtics can have their cake and eat it with Pritchard — keep him on the roster, hope he builds some additional trade value in the playoffs, try to make a deep run with him, and then move on in the offseason. Maybe Pritchard can bring some hardware with him.”"
Payton Pritchard holds more trade value to the Boston Celtics in the offseason
In general, making trades at the trade deadline is exponentially harder for a front office than doing so in the offseason. Franchises are operating under quicker timeframes and must adjust to the team’s needs on a nearly nightly basis leading into the deadline. Offseason planning is far easier considering the downtime between the end of the season and the draft and free agency.
Pritchard being on the Boston Celtics still is a positive in many ways, with the primary one being that his value will be higher in the offseason. For teams that miss out on their preferred draft choice or free agent target in the backcourt, Pritchard could serve as a backup pursuit. The Celtics could also gauge by then whether or not he does have a long-term role with the team. Perhaps the Boston would bail on Brogdon if his injury woes popped back up between now and the postseason or White is used in a trade for a bigger fish — which is something he was rumored to be going for before the 2022-23 season.