Celtics Udoka Basketball

Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens could make some moves at the trade deadline to improve Boston’s roster. Co-owner and governor Wyc Grousbeck, right, told Stevens to make moves that help the team win this year. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Celtics haven’t had any issues with a hangover following their run to the NBA Finals last season. Boston is at the top of the East and has been one of the best teams in the league. There are still some areas the Celtics are looking to smooth out, but nobody doubts their status as title contenders.

With the Feb. 9 trade deadline less than two weeks away, though, there are still some questions going forward. Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens isn’t going to overhaul the roster and change its core. But the front office can make some moves to improve the Celtics’ depth and bench players.

Celtics co-owner and governor Wyc Grousbeck said he knows what kind of opportunity this season is for the franchise’s chance at hanging its 18th championship banner. It’s why his message to Stevens was simple, which Grousbeck spoke about during an interview with NBC Sports Boston prior to the Celtics’ overtime win over the Lakers.

“The conversation that I had with Brad is: It’s about this year. It’s not about this will pay dividends in three years or this will do this next year,” Grousbeck said. “It is this year. Muscle up and let’s go get the job done. That’s his instructions, and that’s what we’re going to try to do. If there’s anything to do, we’ll do it. If not, we love this team. We’re top of the league right now.”

The Celtics have been in some trade rumors over the past several weeks, whether that’s tied to specific players like the Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl or for front court depth. There are avenues where the Celtics can continue to improve, mostly for the regular season as the Celtics boast a deep roster for the playoffs.

As Grousbeck mentioned, there’s a clear priority for the Celtics to get it done this season. Boston is set up well for the future, but championship windows can be tight. With the Celtics so talented and deep right now, it makes sense to emphasize this season and add to the current roster.


The trade deadline is next Thursday, and there have been some moves around the league already. Of course, Stevens and the front office have mostly worked in the background as their actual trades have been relative surprises. Boston has been plenty aggressive on the trade front already, parting ways with multiple first-round picks to ensure guys like Al Horford, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon are in Celtics jerseys.

PAYTON PRITCHARD has found himself in a tough situation with the Celtics at times over the past two seasons when it comes to playing time. The reserve guard spent the first half of last season stuck behind Dennis Schröder and Marcus Smart at the point guard position and has faced an even more stacked depth chart this year after Boston dealt for Brogdon in the summer.

Pritchard opened up a bit about his situation in Boston on the Point Forward podcast with Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner this past week and got candid about his situation and uncertain future with the Celtics beyond this year.

Andre Iguodala: “Walk me through the next 5 or 10 years for yourself.”

Payton Pritchard: “Obviously after I’m done here, after this year, I’d like to look — be a part of a bigger role a little bit.”

Iguodala: “You should want that.”


Pritchard: “I definitely do. It’s obviously what I work for. I think that’s what Brad and them know, too. We’ve had that discussion but — a bigger role. I want to be part of a winning culture but I want to also help that, be a really big piece of that. I’m not saying it’s the best player on the team but I don’t know what my future holds unless I can take that next step. I don’t know what it is in five or 10 years but I just want to look back and know that I put my best foot forward. I put all the work in so whatever happens I can live with as long as I did it my way. That’s the most important thing for me.”

Pritchard’s remarks are not surprising given his predicament. He’s averaged a career-low 12.5 minutes per game this season in 35 contests. The 25-year-old has seen an uptick in playing time of late due to injuries and Sam Hauser’s struggles (16.4 minutes per game in January) but that’s still well below his averages from the second half of last year and likely his overall hopes.

The more noteworthy part of Pritchard’s remarks involves his future with the Celtics amid the impending trade deadline. Pritchard still has one more year on his rookie contract after this season for just $4 million during the 2023-24 season. After that, he will become a restricted free agent, meaning the Celtics will have matching rights to retain him.

DANILO GALLINARI has been around the Celtics plenty recently as he looks to get acclimated with his new team despite the ACL tear he suffered in the offseason. Gallinari’s been on the Celtics’ sideline – often wearing a suit – and has traveled with the team during recent trips.

When Gallinari spoke with the media during training camp, he declined to rule himself out for the season with the hopes of returning in the playoffs. Gallinari tore his ACL playing for Italy in a FIBA World Cup qualifying game, putting his entire 2022-23 season in doubt. But Gallinari recently, in speaking to Italian blog Around the Game, said the goal is still suit up for the Celtics at some point this season.

The road back will take several more weeks, but Gallinari shared a video on Twitter updating his promising rehab progress. In the video, Gallinari is jumping and running around the Auerbach Center courts. There won’t be any sudden cuts or explosive movements like what’s needed on the court yet, but the signs of progress are always good for the 34-year-old sharpshooter.

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