If you’re hoping the Sixers will trade up to the first-overall choice in the 2017 NBA draft, don’t hold your breath. It sounds like the Boston Celtics are looking the moon in return.
Getting the No. 1 pick might be a pipe dream anyway, but Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo did say the club would explore all of its options. Technically, that means looking at ways to get the top selection, where Washington guard Markelle Fultz is currently projected to go and the Celtics could be persuaded to swap.
Boston would be willing to take the Sixers’ call, but when you listen to Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck talk about dealing the pick, it’s difficult to get the sense that a trade is likely. In fact, he’ll come right out and say it’s their intention to make the pick “unless someone blows us away with an offer.”
“If you’re going to trade this pick as part of a package for an established star making max, you’ve got to send max money out the door as well,” Grousbeck said on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. “You’ve got to send more guys along, so this guy coming back better be the second coming. What’s more, he’s going to be halfway through his career, whoever he is, and he’s going to be paid right now a ton of money, which restricts you in other ways.
“If you can get a really good guy with this pick, you’ve got him, you can build with him, you can grow with him, you can coach him up, and you get to max money eventually -- five, six years down the road -- but it’s a totally different thing.”
When you start looking at players who might qualify as “the second coming” on the Sixers roster, the list is short -- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons -- and those guys aren’t going anywhere. Sorry, Jahlil Okafor isn’t getting it done. Even Embiid and Simmons aren’t the kind of established star Grousbeck was thinking about, though they’re the types of talent that would at least warrant a conversation.
Since trading either Embiid or Simmons would be counterproductive, we can probably rule this out as an option for Colangelo to explore.