The Boston Celtics are considering trading the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers. Why would they do this?
For one, Boston already has a strong backcourt with two starters in Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley as well as a solid rotational player with Marcus Smart. Markelle Fultz, while obviously the best player available, would give the team more of where they already have strength.
Thomas, meanwhile, has one more year on his contract. He will make $6.26 million next season, which could be his last in Boston. It’s unclear if the team will want to give him a max deal or if they will move on from their star point guard.
The team also owns the rights to Brooklyn’s first-round pick, which likely will be a top-three pick. If they trade for all of the picks Philadelphia is likely to give them for the top selection, they’d have seven first-round picks in the next three seasons.
This gives the front office extra time to decide what they want to do with Thomas. It also offers them a chance to package their picks in another future trade (via CSNPhilly.com):
The Celtics could take these picks and package them in a future deal to acquire a big-name player that takes them to the next level faster than Fultz would … The Celtics would further the success of their veteran team and give them the assets and salary flexibility to acquire impact players to make an immediate difference while this window opportunity is open.
While Thomas was dominant on the offense for the Celtics, he was not as strong on the defensive side of the ball. If Boston decides to trade their pick to the Sixers, they can select Josh Jackson. He is considered the best two-way prospect in the draft.
Jackson would add a strong wing option to pair with Jaylen Brown, their pick last season. Jackson recently spoke about how the Warriors and Cavaliers did not use centers during “winning time” during the NBA Finals.
His style of play matches closer to what LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard provided for their teams even if he doesn’t reach the high-caliber of performance. Essentially, this means the Celtics could trade for someone they wanted all along while also stockpiling assets to land another star.
Boston is interested in Chicago’s Jimmy Butler. The Celtics are also favorites to land Utah’s Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin from the Clippers. They’d have tons of cap space to pay these players if they can land them as well.
Moving forward, the Celtics can build an exciting team and could compete as one of the more dominant teams in the Eastern Conference. Even if it means moving on from the draft’s top player in Fultz.
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