Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard (11) shoots against against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals in San Francisco, Monday, June 13, 2022. Credit: Jed Jacobsohn

The Celtics are without a first round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft after dealing away one as part of a trade package for Derrick White at the trade deadline back in February. However, the rumblings continue that Boston is looking to move back into the first round of Thursday night’s draft.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report indicated in his latest report that the Celtics are one of four teams (Detroit, Utah, Indiana) looking to acquire picks in the back half of the first round. He also signaled that the Celtics appeared ‘willing’ to engage in trade talks on young rotation players such as Payton Pritchard and Grant Williams ‘for the right price.’ The Celtics have also been linked to trade interest in the Warriors’ first round pick at No. 28 overall.

Brad Stevens and Boston’s front office likely hold both of these young players in high regard after Boston’s run to the NBA Finals. Williams is coming off a career year in which he shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range and averaged 7.8 points per game as Boston’s sixth man for much of the year.

Pritchard shook off a slow start to the season after suffering a broken nose and rebounded to shoot a team-best 41.2 percent from 3-point range over 71 games. Both players had strong postseasons before struggling late in the NBA Finals as the Celtics lose three consecutive games for the first time since December.

Both Williams and Pritchard are still on their rookie contracts, which should make them appealing to potential suitors. Williams has one more year left on his contract for $4.3 million and is eligible for an extension this summer. Pritchard has two years left on his deal for a combined $6.4 million.

Boston currently holds just the No. 53 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Story by Brian Robb,