Boston Celtics reserve could've signed elsewhere to be a starter this summer if not blockbuster trades in 2023

Boston Celtics v Memphis Grizzlies
Boston Celtics v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

MassLive's Brian Robb believes that the blockbuster trades of Marcus Smart (for Kristaps Porzingis) and Malcolm Brogdon (for Jrue Holiday) opened up the door for the Boston Celtics to re-sign Payton Pritchard to a team-friendly deal -- and if not for those trades, the Oregon product would be a starter elsewhere this summer.

"Pritchard’s consistent play and efficient shooting would have probably made him a starting point guard candidate this summer if he hit free agency," Robb prefaced before saying, "A deep run in the postseason for Boston would probably only increase his asking price. Instead, the Celtics choose wisely in clearly the way for opportunity for Pritchard this season by dealing away Malcolm Brogdon and Marcus Smart, which paved the way for a preseason extension of four years for $28 million."

Pritchard is playing a career-high in minutes at 21 per game, and as the postseason nears and the Cs look to rest their players beforehand with the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed locked up, he could end up setting even more career-highs.

Brad Stevens clearly trusted "Fast PP" enough to send away two steady-hand vets in Smart and Brogdon, and that has been paid off throughout the second half of the 2023-24 season.

Pritchard's deal will only continue to be a bargain if he continues to hit three-pointers at a 39% clip and lead a second unit that has become a feature of Joe Mazzulla's winning ways as head coach of the Celtics.

Boston Celtics bench could determine whether or not Banner 18 hangs from TD Garden rafters this Fall

For all the talk of Mazzulla deploying his top six for the majority of minutes during the 2024 postseason, there is a strong chance that the likes of Pritchard, Sam Hauser, and Luke Kornet do ultimately play a role in Boston's Banner 18 pursuit.

Even 10 minutes per game in the playoffs is make-or-break given the pace of postseason play. Of the three, Pritchard is the likeliest to receive such playing time, but Hauser's shooting can get him there depending on matchups and Kornet could help preserve Kristaps Porzingis's health if it comes to it.

Either way, the trio will have a hand in any title run one way or another.