Celtics

Why Celtics reportedly picked up 2022-23 options of four players

Celtics

The Boston Celtics are maintaining faith in their young guys.

The Celtics have exercised the fourth-year club options of Romeo Langford and Grant Williams and the third-year options of Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard for the 2022-23 season, according to multiple reports Monday.

Monday was the NBA's deadline for teams to pick up rookie-scale options, and it's no surprise that Boston decided to keep all four of their recent draft picks under contract for an additional season.

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Langford, the Celtics' No. 14 overall draft pick in 2019, is the only player in this group who will make north of $5 million next season ($5.6m). Fellow 2019 draft pick Williams is set to make $4.3 million in 2022-23, while 2020 draftees Nesmith ($3.8 million) and Pritchard ($2.2 million) both are on bargain deals.

While none of these players have made a significant impact in Boston to date, all four have flashed potential and could either work their way into the Celtics' regular rotation or become trade assets for new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.

Pritchard has been the most productive player of the bunch so far, averaging 7.7 points over 19.2 minutes per game during a strong rookie campaign last season. Williams is off to the strongest start in 2021-22, though, chipping in 9.8 points per game while shooting 50% from 3-point range.

Langford, Prichard and most notably Nesmith (nine minutes per game) haven't seen much playing time under new head coach Ime Udoka. But they should see opportunities at some point as Udoka manages his veterans' minutes, and if the "young guys" play well, they could become valuable trade chips on relatively cheap contracts if Stevens wants to make a splash next summer.

 

Langford and Williams will become restricted free agents in 2023 if Boston gives them each qualifying offers, while Pritchard and Nesmith each have one more team option for the 2023-24 season.