The NBA Draft is quickly approaching and teams are working feverishly to sort out their draft boards. Everyone is doing what they can to assess the draft prospects and figure out exactly how valuable each pick is, including the Boston Celtics, who were gifted the first overall pick via a lopsided trade with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics aren’t like most teams with the top overall pick, as their season just recently ended in the Eastern Conference Finals. Markelle Fultz is the favorite to be the first name called on draft night, but given how close the Celtics are to contending, many have pondered whether they would consider trading the pick in order to obtain a win-now piece.
In a recent piece by Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge admitted that teams have already begun calling to express interest in trading for their pick:
Ainge said he has yet to identify the prospect he would select. And, most importantly, he is prepared to sift through all options that come from being in such a prized position. He said “a handful of teams” has already expressed interest in acquiring the No. 1 choice from the Celtics, and those suitors are probably just getting started.
“The only thing we know for certain is we have the No. 1 pick,” Ainge said in a telephone interview from Las Vegas. “What we don’t know for certain is who that person is yet and what sort of value the pick can get us if we choose to go another direction other than just drafting that pick.”
Should the Celtics decide to trade the pick they will expect at least an All-Star player in return, though trading such a high pick is rare. Recent rule changes to give incumbent teams even more of an advantage to keep their own players in free agency have made draft picks that much more valuable.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, Lonzo Ball appears to be the favorite to be selected by them with the second overall pick, but that could change depending on what the Celtics do with the first pick. Expect the rumors to intensify as we get closer to draft day on June 22nd.