There are rumblings out of Boston that the Suns may have encouraged Josh Jackson to skip his workout with the Celtics so he would be available for Phoenix with the fourth pick.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE passes along the theory that Suns GM Ryan McDonough, who spent 10 years in the Celtics’ organization, was behind Jackson’s decision to cancel a scheduled session with the team in Sacramento. McDonough joked about the situation Friday in Jackson’s introductory press conference, but later offered hints that there might be some truth to the allegations.
“Look, it is a competition,” he told reporters. “The Celtics were ahead of us at No. 3 and they could have selected whoever they wanted to. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn’t mean [Jackson’s agent] B.J. [Armstrong] and I and … other members of my staff couldn’t talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.”
McDonough pointed out that it wouldn’t violate any NBA rules if he and Armstrong had worked together to steer Jackson to Phoenix.
The Boston contingent, made up of president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, coach Brad Stevens and assistant GM and team counsel Mike Zarren, didn’t find out about the cancellation until their plane landed in Sacramento, which sparked some anger toward Jackson.
“Flew across the country, are you kidding me? I had to get up at 4 o’clock and fly back home,” Ainge said.
Jackson claimed he had a phone conversation with Stevens this week, but Ainge said on draft night that no one in the organization had direct contact with the Kansas forward, Blakely relays in a separate story. Some believe Jackson was bitter that the Celtics didn’t give him serious consideration when they had the No. 1 pick and he didn’t want to join the team after it traded back to No. 3.
“There was something that he didn’t want to play for the Celtics,” Ainge added.