By: John Morgan Francis
Last night the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers completed the biggest draft trade since 1990. The Sixers received the first pick, with which they’ll take Fultz, from the Celtics for the third overall pick and the Los Angeles Lakers 2018 first round pick (protected 2-5).
This means that if the pick falls first or higher than five, the Sixers will keep the pick. However, if the Sixers indeed keep the Lakers pick, they’ll have to forfeit the 2019 Sacramento Kings first round pick without any protections.
So what’s the best case scenario for what both teams received?
It’s no secret nor debate that Fultz is the best player in this draft. However, he did suffer multiple knee-related injuries in the past few years. Therefore, this may have lead to a smaller offer accepted by Celtics GM Danny Ainge. The Sixers will indeed miss that Lakers pick if it falls second-fifth overall, but they’ll still have the 2019 Kings pick to continue building around their core of Fultz, Simmons, Saric and Embiid.
This group, no doubt, gives Philadelphia the brightest future of any team in the Association. However, they do have a less-favorable injury background, including Fultz’s knees, Simmons’ foot and Embiid’s knees/feet.
The trade grade for the Sixers is no doubt an A+, as they gave up what every expert thought was the absolute minimum for the first overall pick.
Chad Ford leaked out earlier this past week that Ainge may have switched his mind from taking Fultz first overall to Jackson. IF this is true and Boston winds up still taking Jackson with the third pick instead, this is an A+ trade for them.
I am skeptical though as to why they weren’t able to pry away more assets or at least exclude the protections on the Lakers pick from the Sixers. The first overall pick is just as valuable as a superstar in the NBA and there were five days left before the Celtics were on the clock.
Nonetheless, the deal is reportedly finalized and we’re simply waiting for a final call on Monday.
So, what’s the best case scenario for the former owners of the first overall pick? Well, lucky for them, they have many.
A: Draft Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum, wait out the Lakers pick.
Like I said before, the Celtics have recently been tied to Jackson. Tatum, after Fultz, is likely the most NBA-ready player in this draft. With small forwards Jae Crowder and last year’s third overall pick, Jaylen Brown, the Celtics will surely be dealing away one of these players if they take Jackson or Tatum. Their pursuit of Gordon Hayward may fade as well. This move puts Boston in the best situation to plan for later, as they have Brooklyn’s unprotected pick next year. Therefore, they could wind up with the first and second overall picks, along with their own first rounder.
B: Trade the 3rd pick for the 5th, 10th picks, wait out Lakers pick
Sacramento has been linked to shopping their two lottery picks to move up and take De’Aaron Fox. If LA decides to take Josh Jackson or Lonzo Ball with their second pick, the Celtics could trade back once more to increase their stockpile of assets. Jackson isn’t likely to fall past Phoenix at fourth so they could still take Tatum at fifth. With the tenth pick they could take Zach Collins, arguably the most NBA-ready big in the draft. Again, they could wait out the Lakers pick and have a major core for the future.
C: Trade the 3rd pick for the 5th, 10th picks, make a trade involving the Lakers pick
Waiting out the Lakers pick could wind up being risky. LA won’t be getting much better by next spring and their pick could potentially be first overall, allowing the Sixers to have back-to-back first overall picks and Boston drastically losing this trade. Therefore, it’s best for them to capitalize on the asset now instead of allowing ping pong balls to decide their fate. They could take the Lakers pick, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley to trade for Jimmy Butler. This would keep them from being able to offer Gordon Hayward a max contract but could extend Isaiah Thomas.
D: Trade the 3rd pick for the 5th, 10th picks, make a trade involving 10th pick, Lakers pick, and multiple players
Rumors have been swirling Ainge made this deal to acquire assets to deal for a superstar. Not a star like Jimmy Butler but possibly an MVP-caliber stud like Anthony Davis. New Orleans would free themselves of Davis’ large contract for likely Collins, the Lakers pick, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley. The added cap room would allow them to also be able to bring back Jrue Holiday or entertain Chris Paul on a max deal. These assets & players would make New Orleans a more win-now team centered around Demarcus Cousins. Boston would also be a more win-now team with Davis while also planning for the future.
The final call of the Philly-Boston trade is expected to be made tomorrow. There are five days until the Celtics are potentially on the clock with the third pick. Whatever happens, their are many credible reports Ainge isn’t done dealing. One of these four options could well be underway later in the week.
Stay tuned for more draft analysis.
Twitter handle: @MonJorgan