“A handful of teams” have already called Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge about deals involving the top overall pick in the draft, relays Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.
Despite a near-consensus in the media that Washington point guard Markelle Fultz will be the first player selected, Ainge insists the Celtics are studying potential picks and aren’t leaning toward any player. They are also trying to determine the return that the selection will bring on the trade market.
“There’s two things that are happening,” Ainge said. “I think the value of [the pick] increases the closer you get to the draft is one, and two is we really need to know the value of the whole draft, because some of the conversations that you have are trading down in the draft and trading picks for players, moving backward and so forth.”
Boston began holding pre-draft workouts in early May, although Ainge says most of the players who have auditioned are being targeted with the team’s three second-round picks. Ainge and his staff are currently in Las Vegas for a workout and will travel to Los Angeles for another.
Most workouts involving top prospects are organized by agents, and Fultz hasn’t hired one yet. The Celtics held a private meeting with Fultz at the draft combine, and Ainge will try to set up a visit to Boston for the 19-year-old, who is doing most of his training in Washington, D.C.
Ainge said he’s not offended by Ball’s decision, understanding his desire to play for the Lakers because he grew up in Los Angeles and has concerns about the number of established players already in Boston’s backcourt.
“We’ve followed him in the summer in the past and we’re prepared on who he is, and it wouldn’t affect us in any way,” Ainge said. “I certainly don’t hold it against him or take it personal.”