The trade rumors of the NBA off-season are here. The biggest rumor to just recently pop up has been a trade in the works involving the first and third overall picks. The Celtics and 76ers are in “serious trade talks” according to Zack Lowe of ESPN. If the trade goes through, Boston would receive the third overall pick and a 2018 pick. The pick would either be the 76ers own or possibly the Lakers selection as Philly owns that pick as well.
Besides the trade talk, the latest rumors out of Boston are that the Celtics are high on Kansas forward Josh Jackson, originally assumed to be the third best player in the draft. However it seems all too convenient that both of these rumors are popping up so close to each other. Are the Celtics really in on Jackson, or does Danny have something else up his sleeve?
No matter how many reports go out, I am convinced Lonzo Ball will be in Los Angeles. The story seems almost too perfect and he does seem like a good fit. Even if Fultz is somehow on the board it feels like the local prospect with an already superstar name fits the Lakers too well. He will draw the most attention to the franchise which is exactly what the Lakers want. No matter who is on the board, Lonzo to LA. Book it.
So why would the Celtics be hyping up Josh Jackson? There is where the draft games come into play. Maybe Boston knows that Philly likes Josh Jackson. After pretty much assuming Fultz and Ball would be taken off the board, the 76ers must have watched enough film to know everything they need to about Johnson. What if the reports were all just to bait the 76ers into drafting Jackson at 1? Imagine Fultz dropping to the three spot and Boston getting yet another lottery pick out of the draft. Danny Ainge would be labeled a genius.
Now, this isn’t saying Jackson isn’t a good player, or this is all for show. The Celtics would not pull off a trade unless they were confident in their return and their pick. Boston must be fully ready to accept taking Jackson at three if they pull this trade off. However, it would pay off big time for Boston if Fultz does somehow drop down to three.
Then there is the return. If this trade is pulled off, chances are it would include the 76ers or Lakers 2018 pick. Both of which would be projected lottery picks. Boston would then have two lottery picks in the draft, including possibly another number one overall pick. Boston would then be able to draft a top 3 player while still being able to package that pick for a star player. Whether it would be Jimmy Butler, Paul George or another player who emerges from trade talks, Boston would be able to do it while still drafting this year.
Markelle Fultz is still in play even if the third overall pick goes to Boston. It is similar to the rumors from Philly coming out last year saying they liked Brandon Ingram. All of these rumors are just bluffs to see if any team makes a stupid mistake. The 76ers might be a perfect team to make a mistake and draft the wrong guy. Their track history of recent drafts are in the Celtics favor.