5 Boston Celtics who definitely won't be back for the title defense

The Boston Celtics are about to face the harsh reality of most NBA champions: It's hard to keep the band together, even if it is playing to near perfection.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five
Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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Payton Pritchard, Under Contract

This is likely to be a controversial selection, as Payton Pritchard is signed through the 2027-28 season at an extremely cost-efficient rate. If the Boston Celtics make a trade to improve, however, Pritchard's contract will be, perhaps, their greatest asset.

A sharpshooter who made just 18.7 percent of his three-point field goal attempts during the NBA Finals, Pritchard may prove expendable this summer.

Pritchard requested a trade in 2023, but was instead met with an increased role during the 2023-24 season. He played a career-high 22.3 minutes per game during the regular season, setting new career-best marks with 9.6 points and 1.8 three-point field goals made per game.

Rotations admittedly shrink during the playoffs, but Pritchard's declining role in the postseason could result in further discontent. If that proves to be the case, then a trade could prove advantageous for both sides.

Even on an affordable deal, the last thing the Celtics need following a championship is a player who doesn't necessarily want to be there. The last thing Pritchard needs is to feel as though his development is being stunted.