Pritchard has expressed a desire to play more in recent weeks.
A couple of weeks prior to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, Payton Pritchard made some peculiar comments about this season possibly being his last with the Celtics while appearing on a podcast.
It turns out Pritchard wanted to leave Boston sooner in search of getting more playing time. The guard admitted that he wanted to be traded on Thursday in an interview with The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
“I definitely was expecting and hoping [for a trade],” Pritchard said. “But you know, I [have to] look at the good things. We’re the best team in the NBA right now and we have a great team with really great players, so for me it’s an opportunity to learn and to keep growing.
Pritchard has expressed in multiple interviews in recent weeks that he’d like to play more than he currently does. The third-year guard is averaging a career-low 12.6 minutes per game after the Celtics traded for Malcolm Brogdon in the offseason. Not only is he averaging a career-low in minutes per game, he’s also logged 14 DNP-CD’s (did not play, coach’s decision), which is already a career-high.
In a separate interview with The Athletic’s Jay King, Pritchard said that he doesn’t have any other issues outside of a lack of playing time, saying “it’s tough because I do love the city of Boston.”
“I do love it here,” Pritchard told King. “So, there’s a lot of things that go into play, but my number one thing is I want to play. So, I don’t know what that looks like, but I know that’s the most important thing in my life, is being able to suit up every day and going out there knowing I’m going to play every game.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens showed some empathy for the young guard who’s looking to make his mark in the league. In an interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Brian Scalabrine, he said the Celtics “really value Payton” even if his playing time doesn’t reflect that.
“Payton’s a big, important part of our team,” Stevens said. “Last year he played tons of minutes in the playoff run and guys like that aren’t everywhere. We’re just in a unique position and Payton knows that. And Payton’s been really upfront about that. He knows that the guards we have on our team and the wings that we play sometimes as points are really, really good. And so, there’s going to be nights like tonight where guys are out that he’s going to get extended opportunity. There’s going to be nights where he doesn’t.