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."

Celtics considering Josh Jackson over Markelle Fultz? NBA draft buzz getting hotter

Celtics considering Josh Jackson over Markelle Fultz? NBA draft buzz getting hotter

The NBA draft is a week away and things possibly just got a lot more interesting for the Sixers at No. 3.

How so?

According to a report Thursday by ESPN's Chad Ford, the Celtics, at No. 1, are strongly considering options outside of Washington guard Markelle Fultz, who seemed to be the consensus top overall pick up to this point. Even wilder, Kansas swingman Josh Jackson is one of those options in which Boston is mulling, per the report.

"We like him a lot," the Celtics source said to ESPN. "But we like several guys a lot. We've got a week to figure it out."

Jackson would be an option for the Sixers at No. 3 — if he falls, of course.

Now it appears he could rise to the first overall selection, which would turn things upside down for the Lakers at No. 2 and the Sixers — who worked out Malik Monk Thursday — right behind them.

Here's what one GM told ESPN regarding the Celtics, their president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and the No. 1 pick:

I've picked Danny's brain for years. Jackson is an Ainge player all the way. Tough, athletic, long, versatile, elite motor. If he's keeping the pick, Jackson just to me, far and away, is the most Celtics-type player for them to draft. From all my conversations with them, I'm convinced they'll take Jackson No. 1.

Jackson's agent, B.J. Armstrong, told ESPN that his client has worked out for the Lakers and Sixers, but not the Celtics. However, that wouldn't deter Boston from snagging Jackson, according to the report.

"Absolutely not," the Celtics source said to ESPN. "That's true for Josh and Lonzo (Ball) and anyone else. We've done our homework. The workouts are nice, but they're not mandatory. We'll select the best player."

Say Jackson surprises and actually goes No. 1, what would the Lakers do? We know that over a week ago, they were reportedly not sold on UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. Meanwhile, Fultz worked out for the Lakers on Thursday.

"It was a family decision," Fultz said, via The Associated Press. "Giving everybody the opportunity. Never know where I might land, so I just wanted to see how it is out here."

Fultz has already worked out for the Celtics and, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, didn't shoot the ball "exceptionally well."

What about his session with the Lakers?

"They saw that I worked hard," Fultz said, via ESPN. "They saw that I had the mechanics to shoot the ball right and everything like that."

This time next week, we'll know where everyone lands.

For now, let the draft chatter heat up.

The case for Kansas' Josh Jackson to the Sixers at No. 3

The case for Kansas' Josh Jackson to the Sixers at No. 3

Over the weeks leading up to the 2017 NBA draft, we'll be making cases for the Sixers to draft several prospects. Our series will kick off with options at No. 3 (or trade downs) followed by second-round possibilities. The 2017 NBA draft will take place on June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Josh Jackson
Position:
SF
School: Kansas
Height: 6-8
Weight: 203
Wingspan: 6-9¾

Jackson enjoyed an excellent season in his one year with the Jayhawks. Regarded as one of the top high school recruits in the country, Jackson didn't disappoint. The super athletic swingman averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and three assists per game.

Jackson is without a doubt the best two-way player in this draft. He can guard positions one through four. He averaged an impressive 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per 40 minutes, using his length and athleticism to disrupt passing lanes. He's also strong and physical, with the ability to body up ball handlers and cutters and redirect them.

He's a bit underrated offensively. He struggled with his shot early on but improved as the season went on. In his last 17 games, he shot 48 percent from three on over three attempts per game. As his three assists per night indicate, he's a good and willing passer. He's also a better ball handler than he gets credit for, with the ability to get to the rim using his left or his right. Oh, and he can finish.

The case for Jackson
He fits the Sixers as an elite wing defender who plays well off the ball. If his shot continues to improve, he could be a great complement to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. 

No, he's not an obvious fit, but he's way too talented at a position they really don't have. And talented wings aren't easy to find. Robert Covington has been a find for the Sixers and should definitely be given a contract extension, but Jackson simply brings more to the table on both ends of the court. The shot is a concern, but we've seen almost every player improve their shot with head coach Brett Brown and the Sixers' staff.

The case against Jackson
You can't just overlook the fact that he shot an abysmal 57 percent from the free throw line. That simply won't get it done. Free throw shooting can also be an indicator of whether a player can improve his stroke from the field. If the Sixers take Jackson, you have to hope that 57 percent is an aberration. 

Jackson also had some trouble off the court. There were two separate incidents. Both cases were recently resolved, but they both show a lack of maturity and, quite frankly, stupidity. 

One case involved Jackson backing up his car into another and then leaving the scene. He was given probation and forced to pay a $250 fine. In a more troubling incident, Jackson kicked the driver's side door and kicked out a tail light of a member of Kansas' women's basketball team after an argument. He reached a diversion agreement that requires him to attend anger management classes, write a letter of apology and refrain from using alcohol or recreational drugs for a year.

The Sixers will have to vet Jackson long and hard to determine if these incidents were out of a character or part of a troubling pattern.

Analysis
Washington guard Markelle Fultz is the No. 1 player on the board and will likely be picked by the Celtics. The consensus seems to be that the Lakers will take UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. With those two players off the board, Jackson is the clear-cut pick at No. 3.

At worst, you have an elite wing defender that can help slow down the likes of LeBron James, Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Eastern Conference. He's also going to be a nightmare in the open court running the floor with Simmons. I'd bank on him having at least a modest improvement on his shot.

The off-the-court stuff is definitely a concern, but it's possible they're just dumb decisions by a young kid. He's so talented, you better be certain that there's an issue if you decide to pass on him at No. 3. If he stays out of trouble, he's absolutely worthy of the No. 3 pick.