BOSTON — Teammates lauded Payton Pritchard’s professionalism and preparedness whereas acknowledging the troublesome spot the crew positioned him in getting into this season. The NBA Finals contributor and seventh-longest tenured Celtic fell out of the rotation after the Malcolm Brogdon commerce.
Pritchard hoped for a constant function in his June exit interview and obtained the alternative. He didn’t play in seven of Boston’s first 10 video games. Then, he averaged 16.3 minutes for 5 video games whereas taking pictures 52.9%. These swings continued all through the primary half of the schedule, and regardless of dealing with them admirably, Pritchard revealed in a Level Ahead Podcast look with Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala that he shared his want for a bigger function with the Celtics.
“After I’m finished right here, after this yr, I’d wish to be a part of an even bigger function a little bit bit,” Pritchard mentioned when requested to foretell his subsequent 5-10 years. “I positively do, it’s clearly what I labored for. I believe that’s what Brad and them know too, we’ve had that dialogue, however an even bigger function. I wish to be a part of a profitable tradition however I wish to additionally assist that, be a very massive piece of that. I’m not saying it’s the very best participant on the crew however I don’t know what my future holds except I can take that subsequent step.”
The request added a brand new layer to the already-difficult choice for Boston’s entrance workplace getting into the deadline. Pritchard proved an vital piece of the Celtics’ depth starting the season by means of accidents to Marcus Sensible, Jaylen Brown and Malcolm Brogdon. When all three performed, Pritchard not often did, and his standout performances in opposition to Brooklyn and Toronto earlier this month reportedly generated curiosity within the guard from rival groups.
Pritchard is signed for yet another season at $4.0-million and Jayson Tatum praised the guard’s efforts and significance to the crew final week in Orlando. As Pritchard mentioned the commerce deadline and his season with CLNS Media/CelticsBlog earlier than Saturday’s sport, Al Horford entered the locker room and overheard the query about Pritchard’s future.
“We ain’t frightened about that,” Horford mentioned. “We ain’t frightened about that. Don’t ask that.”
Pritchard revealed he’s letting his agent Greg Lawrence deal with his future within the dialog. Pritchard sees any potential transfer as exterior of his management, and he’ll let no matter occurs occur and believes he’ll be, tremendous regardless.
The Celtics don’t enter the deadline with vital wants, reducing the probability Pritchard can be included in a commerce. Groups might want him, however whether or not they’d sway Boston with a suggestion is one other story. It’s additionally unclear if the Celtics might purchase a greater participant in return by dealing Pritchard as a centerpiece, since they’re restricted to providing draft picks in 2025 and past after dealing their 2023 first-rounder for Brogdon.
Boston will take into account every thing on the subject of Pritchard because the entrance workplace turns its full consideration towards commerce deadline this week. They like him, what he’s added to the crew and he’ll seemingly stay within the rotation by means of the deadline whereas Sensible takes his time getting back from an ankle sprain.
The Celtics aren’t centered on sustaining common season success although. The query they’ll must ask is whether or not Pritchard can assist them of their pursuit of a championship, or whether or not they plan to take a seat him. He credited teammate and long-time good friend Blake Griffin for serving to him deal with that uncertainty.
Griffin hosted Pritchard at a Clippers-Blazers sport as an Oklahoma recruit, and joked earlier this season he should’ve not finished job, since Pritchard de-committed shortly after. He’s remained within the guard’s ear all through this season on the bench and within the locker room, the place their lockers are positioned subsequent to one another — for now.
“(Griffin informed me) simply all the time keep engaged and prepared,” Pritchard informed CLNS Media/CelticsBlog. “Generally you’re out and in of the lineup, and you are feeling like you possibly can be different locations taking part in or no matter. As a competitor, you wish to all the time play, however having any person to all the time be in your ear, ‘preserve working, preserve grinding daily and your time will come,’ helps rather a lot, as a result of lots of guys don’t have that after which they’ll be like, you miss a couple of days and also you go downhill mentally and it spirals.”
“For my work facet of issues, it by no means adjustments. I work arduous on a regular basis, I stick with my routine, however clearly should you don’t play, you scrimmage on off days, play ones, do this form of stuff, however for me, my routine, I strive to not change regardless of if I’m taking part in or not taking part in, I’m persevering with to work on my sport all the time.”