Payton Pritchard was mentioned in trade rumors leading to the deadline and hoped he would be moved by the Boston Celtics.
Pritchard’s minutes have diminished as he plays behind Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Malcom Brogdon.
“I definitely was expecting and hoping [for a trade],” Pritchard told the Globe. “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 watched his minutes steadily decrease each of his three seasons since being drafted 26th overall in 2020. He’s averaging 12.6 minutes and 4.7 points this season, both career lows.
Brad Stevens offered Pritchard in a package with Danilo Gallinari for San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl, but the Spurs declined the offer and traded center to the Toronto Raptors ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
“It was an emotional day, but you know I’m here and I quickly changed my mind and I’m here to do a job to the best of my ability,” Pritchard said. “For me my mindset is just come in every day and keep getting better. The only thing I can do is focus on that.”
Pritchard is eligible for a rookie extension this summer.