Barring an unexpected turn of events, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram will almost certainly be the first two prospects to come off the board in next Thursday’s draft, likely in that order. However, there’s some uncertainty about which player will be the third selection — and it sounds like there may also be some uncertainty about which team will make that pick.
According to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, the Celtics are “really shopping” the third overall pick in the 2016 draft. Blakely suggests that the club is “trying to be as aggressive as possible in trying to move that pick.” Boston’s goal is to get an impact player who can contribute and help the team win immediately.
It’s not clear exactly which players the Celtics will be targeting as they dangle that No. 3 overall pick. Jahlil Okafor of the Sixers and Kevin Love of the Cavaliers have been frequently mentioned as possible targets, though that has been primarily speculation based on prior interest — there has been no confirmation that Boston will have its sights set on those players this summer.
Within his report, Blakely mentions Bulls star Jimmy Butler as one player the Celtics have their eye on, but it remains to be seen whether or not Chicago will be willing to discuss potential trades involving Butler, who is under contract for three more seasons, with a fourth-year player option in 2019/20.
If the Celtics do make a trade involving the third overall pick, it could also involve multiple other picks and/or players, depending on the return, says Blakely. Boston is armed with eight selections in this year’s draft, so even trading half of those picks in a mega-deal for an impact player would still leave the C’s with four selections to make this year.
According to Blakely, the Celtics are taking a long look at former California wing Jaylen Brown in the event that they do keep the No. 3 pick.