One may not be enough: Sixers could acquire another draft pick

One may not be enough: Sixers could acquire another draft pick

CAMDEN, N.J. — Are the Sixers done making first-round trades? Maybe not.

Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said there may be even more moves in their future shortly after the the team announced it had acquired the No. 1 pick in the draft from the Celtics.

"I think whether we are selecting No. 1 or just staying at three, there's been some talk about our interest in acquiring yet another pick, and I'm not going to give up those efforts because we have moved up to No. 1," Colangelo said Monday afternoon. 

The Sixers will draft first overall for the second straight year. They sent the Celtics the No. 3 pick and a protected future first-round pick to make the deal happen ahead of Thursday night (see the multitude of terms here). The Sixers are expected to select Washington guard Markelle Fultz. Colangelo didn't name specific players when discussing the trade.

Colangelo sees the 2017 draft class as far deeper than No. 1. He previously said there were "six or seven" players the Sixers were considering for the third spot. Now that the Sixers hold the top pick, he isn't ignoring the rest of the talent still out there. 

"I feel that in the top five or six, within the top 10, there's five or six All-Stars, surefire All-Stars," Colangelo said. "There may be one or two franchise-level players. On Thursday night, we will make a decision and make an announcement that results in one of those franchise-level players."

The Sixers are set with first-round picks for the foreseeable future. The team could wait another year or more to see where those selections fall, but there's a chance it won't delay. 

"I always feel that future assets are just that: They're future assets," Colangelo said. "But when you can look at a group of talent in this particular draft and know that you have a comfort level with who those players are, grab them, grab them while you can because it's a known quantity."

The Sixers still have trade bait after swapping the third pick. Of the two acquired from the Lakers and Kings, they had to give only one to the Celtics. They also have four second-round picks in this year's draft and not enough roster space to use all of them for next season. 

"Some bids have come in and now we are assessing and evaluating all of the alternatives," Colangelo said of the second-rounders.

Then there are current players who could be packaged. Jahlil Okafor's future with the Sixers still remains uncertain. They have remained open to a trade after they were unable to move him at the deadline. A player like Nik Stauskas, who boosted his value last season and has an expiring contract, also could be appealing to another team.  

One question has been answered, but plenty remain leading up to the draft. What is known is the Sixers believe their newly acquired No. 1 pick will be key in bolstering the organization. 

"The good news is we still have a plethora of other assets to continue to be available for us and to us as we continue to look at building this team into a championship organization," Colangelo said. "Most importantly, we're taking the next step, I believe, in formulating a solid young core of players that ultimately will lead to a successful and sustainable product. That's our goal and that's where we want to be. With the certainty of No. 1, we know we control our circumstances."

Celtics GM Danny Ainge explains trade with Sixers from Boston's perspective

Celtics GM Danny Ainge explains trade with Sixers from Boston's perspective

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Celtics gave up the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft and they feel great about it.
 
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is confident his team still will end up with the player it desired after moving down. Boston also has an additional future pick to add to its collection. 
 
"We think there's a really good chance the player that we'll take at three was the same player we would have taken at one," Ainge said in a conference call Monday. "This was a great opportunity to acquire an impactful asset."
 
The Sixers on Monday acquired the No. 1 pick from the Celtics, which Boston had acquired from Brooklyn via a pick swap. In return, the Celtics received the No. 3 pick and a future first-round selection. That later pick will be either the Lakers' 2018 pick if it falls between Nos. 2 through 5, or if it does not convey, the better of the Sixers' and Kings' pick in 2019.

The Celtics will receive the lesser pick in 2019, however, if either selection is the No. 1.
 
The Celtics and Sixers had been in talks about a trade since the Celtics landed the first pick in the lottery last month. Ainge said the Sixers' offer was the best they received "by a significant margin." Both teams felt it was beneficial to get the deal done days before the draft.
 
"Sometimes when you get an offer you want, you don't want to wait for that offer to go away," Ainge said. 
 
The Sixers are projected to draft Markelle Fultz at No. 1. The thought is the Celtics will draft Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum, on the premise the Lakers take Lonzo Ball at No. 2. Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo did not speak about specific players after the trade, but Fultz did travel from Maryland for an individual workout on Saturday.
 
"We think the Sixers obviously wanted this No. 1 pick," Ainge said, without naming names. "I have all respect in the world for what business they've done over the last few years. I have a good relationship with Bryan Colangelo and Jerry Colangelo. They're doing a fantastic job there in Philadelphia.

"This is somebody that they really wanted and stepped up to get. They have a lot of future assets. We're going to get a player that we like and in addition to some further assets."
 
The Celtics now are looking at the rights to potentially seven first-round selections in the next three years. In addition their own picks and the Sixers deal, they will receive a pick from the Nets in 2018, the Grizzlies in 2019 (top-8 protected), and the Clippers in 2019 (top-14 protected).
 
All the while, they finished with the best record (53-29) in the Eastern Conference and have All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas under contract for next season.
 
For all their current success, the Celtics also will be measured by the careers of the pick they acquired and the one they traded away. Ainge is ready for the comparisons between the two that will come over the years.
 
"These trades are always based on what players those players turn out to be," Ainge said. "We'll all be judged on days like this, and I'm not afraid of that."

Sixers officially move up to No. 1 in trade with Celtics

Sixers officially move up to No. 1 in trade with Celtics

CAMDEN, N.J. — The draft night fireworks have happened three days ahead of schedule.

On Monday, the Sixers finalized a deal to acquire the No. 1 overall pick from the Celtics in exchange for the No. 3 pick and a protected future first-round pick. The Celtics will acquire the 2018 Lakers pick the Sixers own if it falls between No. 2 and 5. If the Lakers pick does not convey, the Sixers will send the better of their own 2019 pick and the Kings' selection. However, the Celtics will receive the lesser pick if either 2019 pick is No. 1 overall.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this trade, which puts us in the enviable position of selecting first overall in consecutive draft years,” Sixers vice president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a press release. “History suggests that No. 1 has the greatest odds of producing franchise-level talent and we are confident that this year’s draft class has that very potential. Thursday night will see us take another significant step toward building a successful and sustainable basketball program.”

The Sixers are expected to draft 6-foot-4 Washington guard Markelle Fultz. He traveled from Maryland to work out for the team on Saturday night as trade talks heated up. Fultz, 19, averaged 23.2 points (47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three), 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds last season. He led all freshmen in the nation in scoring. 

The deal is a win-win for both sides

The Sixers get the player that best fits their needs at No. 1. Fultz adds instant offense and long-range shooting to a team that finished 25th in points per game and tied for 24th in three-point percentage last season. More importantly, he can complement Ben Simmons playing off the ball when Simmons is running the point. 

“It would be great,” Fultz said of playing for the Sixers. “Get up and down. They're big on defense so I think the tools that I have to be a defensive player I think would help them get out in transition. I'm a pretty good shot blocker for a point guard, so I think helping them with that, everything would pretty much help with that.

Fultz already has expressed his excitement to play in Philadelphia. He arrived at the training complex wearing his own Sixers hat, planned to get a cheesesteak after his workout, and took a photo with Simmons, Joel Embiid and Robert Covington.

The Celtics can do what they like with the third pick. Given their lengthy history of trades, that doesn’t necessarily mean keep it. They have plenty of time to package that pick in another deal to land a more established player that will help them compete now versus building for the future. Or, the C's could hold onto the pick and select a small forward to add needed perimeter scoring. The Celtics will continue to add to their overflowing stockpile of first-round picks with the inclusion of the protected first-round pick.

The Sixers' work is not done. They still have four second-round picks to address in the draft.