Celtics president Danny Ainge: We are getting the player we want

Posted June 26, 2017

The trade that has sent shockwaves through the National Basketball Association all weekend - Philadelphia acquires Boston's No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's draft in exchange for the No. 3 and a future first-rounder - became official Monday, signaling the 76ers are serious about winning now and the Celtics are planning ... something.

Barring any other changes before Thursday, the first four spots in this year's draft order would mirror the first-four from last year: Philadelphia at No. 1, the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2, Boston at No. 3 and Phoenix at No. 4.

Boston gets the No. 3 pick in Thursday's draft from Philadelphia, plus either a first-rounder in 2018 and 2019.

Boston is sending the first-overall pick to the Sixers for their third-overall pick and a future first rounder. The Celtics will acquire the 2018 Lakers pick the Sixers own if it falls between No. 2 and 5.

Anytime a team is awarded the No. 1 overall pick in a draft, it's an unbelievable opportunity to snag the next Hall of Fame player.

The Celtics could be gearing up for more moves.

Danny Ainge sounded like he was not as sold on Markelle Fultz as others are. No other team in the National Basketball Association possesses an already-established core, with a surplus of draft picks, and cap space. This only confirmed earlier rumors that Lonzo was looking forward to playing alongside Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

"Even before the lottery, we have been evaluating these kids for the last few years, and we felt that they were all close", he said of the talent level between Fultz, Ball, Jackson and Tatum.

All indications are the 76ers will select Fultz, who grew up in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and played his freshman season at the University of Washington.

"We haven't taken a step outside the draft", Colangelo said.

No matter how you feel about Fultz or the return that Ainge got on the trade, it's undoubtedly a major gamble for the Celtics president of basketball ops.

In addition to "The Doncic Clause", the Celtics won't get the No. 1 pick in 2019 from Philadelphia, either. Instead of cashing in, they're somehow still stockpiling, with legitimate stars in Paul George and Jimmy Butler - and Carmelo Anthony - dangling on the trade market. “We know how good Cleveland and we know how good Golden State is.

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.

Dirk Nowitzki, the career scoring leader among worldwide players, will be one of the captains for the NBA's Africa Game on August 5.

The disparity between the top picks is so small that trading the first pick away in this draft is justifiable.