Earlier this year, it was fair to wonder how much of a future Payton Pritchard had with the Boston Celtics.
He was often the subject of trade rumors and didn't have as big of a role under head coach Joe Mazzulla that he did in 2021-22 under Ime Udoka.
But now that the dust has finally settled on a busy offseason for the Celtics, it looks like Pritchard could potentially be here beyond the upcoming campaign.
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In fact, The Athletic's Jared Weiss reported Monday that the Celtics "have opened extension talks with Pritchard but still have a gap to close to reach an agreement, according to sources briefed on the negotiations."
Pritchard is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will be a restricted free agent next summer if unsigned.
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The Celtics are in the luxury tax with one of the NBA's most expensive rosters. They also acquired point guard Jrue Holiday from the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday and reportedly are open to an extension with him. Keeping all of these players long-term could be a challenge, especially with the new CBA and its harsh second apron penalties.
But the Celtics absolutely should try to sign Pritchard to an extension if the money works. He also should have a larger role because he can be a useful player off the bench.
Pritchard has shot 40 percent from 3-point range and 89 percent from the free throw line in his three-year career. And while not a great defensive player, he does give tremendous effort on that end of the floor and crashes the glass better than most guards his size.
The Celtics need to keep veteran guards Derrick White and Holiday fresh for the playoffs. Playing starters too many minutes in the regular season is often a recipe for disaster. Therefore, it would be smart to give Pritchard more playing time and allow him to keep developing into a valuable player.