Grade the Trade: Boston Celtics proposal swaps Payton Pritchard for depth

Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Heading into the summer of 2023, Payton Pritchard‘s future with the Boston Celtics was felt to be a bit uncertain. The Oregon native was frustrated with his small role on the Celtics, as he spent most of his time watching from the sidelines. However, now that Boston has traded away Marcus Smart, there could be a bit more opportunity for Pritchard.

At the same time, there’s still a fair chance that his minutes are limited once again behind Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon. In that case, it could make sense for the Celtics to dangle the 25-year-old in a trade for a bit more help.

Sports Illustrated’s Inside the Thunder page proposed a deal that would send Pritchard to the Oklahoma City Thunder, in exchange for some added depth.

Does it make sense for the Boston Celtics to trade Payton Pritchard to the Oklahoma City Thunder?

In this case, probably not.

The Boston Celtics are thinner at the guard spot than they were last season. There were plenty of times when White, Brogdon, or Smart were injured, where Pritchard still didn’t see the floor. In the upcoming campaign, an injury to either one of Boston’s top-two guards could spell plenty of minutes for their No. 11.

A player like Pritchard could prove to be extremely important if the Celtics’ injury luck takes a hit. He has proven to be able to step up in big moments in years past. For example, in Game 2 against the Brooklyn Nets in the 2022 first-round meeting, Pritchard poured in 10 fourth-quarter points to help the Cs finish off a 17-point comeback.

That type of experience isn’t something that Boston would get with either Kenrich Williams or Aaron Wiggins. Neither player has played in a single playoff game.

Williams and Wiggins are both fine players, but who knows if they’d be able to crack the rotation in Boston. The Celtics just brought in some extra depth in Oshae Brissett and Dalano Banton.

Plus, the Cs just signed Jaylen Brown to a $304 million contract extension, and will likely do the same for Jayson Tatum in a year. With the new CBA rules, they’ll be very restricted in terms of moves that they can make to improve the roster. The two draft picks that they’d have to sacrifice in the hypothetical deal may very well become valuable because they’ll act as a way to add players for cheap.

Final grade for Boston Celtics Payton Pritchard trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder: C+

If the Boston Celtics really feel as if Pritchard isn’t part of their rotation for the upcoming campaign then sure — give him up for a pair of players that have a chance of helping.

Wiggins is coming off an efficient sophomore season for the Thunder. He averaged just 6.8 points per game, but shot 51.2% from the field and 39.3% from beyond the arc. Off the bench, he’d be able to provide Joe Mazzulla’s squad with a little extra shooting.

As for Williams, he’s also a guy who could provide another option from the reserves. He’s able to play some decent defense and is coming off of a solid year on offense as well. The Texas native averaged 8.0 points per game while shooting 51.7% from the field and 37.3% from deep.

At the end of the day, this is a move that would be a lot more enticing had it come prior to free agency. Now that the Celtics have plugged some holes in their depth chart, adding these two guys would just create a logjam on the bench. It’s certainly not a situation that’s worth burning a pair of draft picks for.