With news that the Boston Celtics have traded the number one pick in the NBA draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the third pick and a future first-rounder, a litany of questions have been raised. Are the Celtics really trying to contend in the east? Were they scared by Cleveland’s dominance and are just stockpiling assets for LeBron’s eventual decline, retirement, or move to the Western Conference in search of more championships? Did they see something in Markell Fultz, the presumptive number one pick and possible best player in the draft that scared them away? Does this mean that a max-extension for Isaiah Thomas is right around the corner as the point guard of the future in Fultz will be residing in Philly? Does this mean that the Celtics have heard rumblings that the Lakers won’t be taking Lonzo Ball at the second pick and are hoping he falls to them at three, or are they looking for a non point guard in this year’s draft? What does this mean for Boston’s free agency moves this summer? Do they have their eyes on a small forward, taking Gordon Hayward off their radar?
Personally, I’m fine with banking assets to a degree, but thinking that Philly is going to stay terrible for long with a roster loaded with young players (as long as they stay healthy) is really going out on a limb. Philly could get really good in a hurry, and then what is Boston left with? I think Danny Ainge is making a risky move here in hoping that the third pick is just as good as the first and that he’s able to turn the future Philly pick into a top-tier asset. Personally, with all the hype Fultz is getting, it’s hard to think he’ll flame out, especially under the tutelage of Brad Stevens, so I would roll the dice with the point guard of the future and avoid sinking a ton of money into Thomas. Ainge is a gambler though, and while he has his own version of Sam Hinkie’s “process” in Philadelphia, he’s given a little more wiggle room because the Celtics are actually successful while building. If this goes south, and especially if the 76ers leapfrog them, the residents of beantown could be calling for his head.