BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics shook up an otherwise boring NBA Draft season, agreeing to trade away the first overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for the third pick in this year’s draft and another future pick (it’s expected to be officially announced on Monday).
It’s clear that Ainge wasn’t as impressed with Markelle Fultz as the rest of the NBA, and decided to add another asset to his bag of future draft picks (Boston will reportedly acquire the 2018 L.A. Lakers first-round pick if it’s between No. 2-5, otherwise it becomes the 2019 Sacramento Kings first-round pick). So Ainge essentially moved down two spots to grab another first-round pick, giving the Celtics seven first-round selections over the next three years.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell joined Steve Burton on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final on Sunday night to talk about the swap, and is not very surprised that Ainge cashed in on his best asset.
“Danny is doing what he wants to do; he’s utilizing that pick now, moving down in the draft to get the guy he wants to get at a lower price,” said Max, noting that drafting a player third overall will save the Celtics some money toward next year’s cap (roughly $1.4 million, which could help them on the free agent front). “Danny is getting the bargain based on price on the guy he would like to get.”
As for who that guy could be come Thursday night, Maxwell said it will likely come down to Kansas forward Josh Jackson or Duke forward Jayson Tatum.
“Jackson is the first guy I think about because he’s athletic like Jaylen Brown. He’s so much like Jaylen Brown, do you want to duplicate that? Tatum is a bigger-bodied guy who can maybe rebound the basketball from the inside,” said Max.
So it appears that the Celtics will be adding a young forward to their roster, unless Ainge swings another trade, which is always possible with “Trader Danny.”
“I think Ainge is looking to move some of these things around. I think it’s possible [that he packages this pick]. If you look at the Celtics right now, are you committed to Isaiah [Thomas]? Are you committed to players you have? Are you going to make other moves that are going to make you better,” asked Max.
Whether it’s a trade for Chicago’s Jimmy Butler or a max offer for free agent Gordon Hayward, Maxwell says the Celtics are far from done this offseason. And he’s among the many who are willing to trust Ainge’s approach.
“Right now, I’m trusting in Danny. I like the move down because now you’re getting something you want for a cheaper price, and on top of that, you have a first-round pick coming back,” he said. “You have multiple assets that you can use to maybe go down to New Orleans and, I pray, get Anthony Davis. Anthony Davis answers all the problems you have with this team.”
Watch Max’s segment in the video above, and tune in to Sports Final and Sports Final OT every Sunday night at 11:35pm on WBZ-TV!