While they have the third overall pick, the 76ers appear ready to trade it to get an even higher selection (http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19656331/boston-celtics-philadelphia-76ers-talking-trade-no-1).
"I think they're both terrific players", Ainge said. The 76ers were in position to make the deal because of the assets they acquired under former general manager Sam Hinkie. But if either of those picks become the first overall, the Celtics will receive the other pick. But Ainge repeatedly stressed that the Celtics are excited about this move.
However, bigger goals seem to be at play in the Celtics' front office after the team was run over by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The teams agreed to the deal over the weekend, hours after expected top pick Markelle Fultz worked out for the Sixers. He added, "It was the best offer we had, by a significant margin, and we're still able to get the player that we want in the draft, and acquire another asset". Boston's additional compensation, the future first-rounder, necessitated more of an explanation. Maybe something like the 2018 LA first and another first from Philly, perhaps the Kings' 2019 pick - all of which would be unprotected. If he's a superstar, it'd be almost impossible for Boston to recoup enough value from the lower draft picks it received. Even if a trade involving a star doesn't develop during this year's draft, the Celtics would likely be making two top-3 selections in the 2018 National Basketball Association draft that could become future National Basketball Association superstars.
The caveats and protections act as a safeguard in case the Sixers get lucky in the lottery so that they don't miss out on a potentially once in a generation talent, while still giving the Celtics another likely high first-round pick. "But we're not afraid of that".
This is the second straight season the 76ers will have the No. 1 pick.
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With Thomas, the Celtics didn't necessarily need a point guard - which is the piece Philadelphia apparently wanted most. But the addition of Fultz to a talented albeit unproven young core that includes Simmons, center Joel Embiid and power forward Dario Saric would certainly make the 76ers one of the NBA's most intriguing teams next season.
Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 25 games during his lone college season at Washington, excelling on a team that finished 9-22. He was the top freshman scorer in the country.
"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", Colangelo said.
"I am incredibly excited that we've acquired the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's National Basketball Association draft", 76ers managing general partner Josh Harris said.