Jayson Tatum

Celtics Rumors: Tatum, Jackson, Porzingis, Brown

Following the completion of the Celtics’ trade with the Sixers earlier this week, C’s president Danny Ainge suggested that the player the team drafted at No. 3 would likely be the same player the club would’ve taken at No. 1. Ainge reiterated that point on Thursday night, telling reporters that he felt the draft was “very even” at the top, and would’ve selected Jayson Tatum with the first overall pick (Twitter link).

Josh Jackson was the other prospect considered to be in play for that No. 3 pick, and Ainge admitted that he was upset when the former Kansas forward cancelled his workout with the Celtics. As Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com details, Ainge, Brad Stevens, and Mike Zarren flew out to Sacramento, only to find out that Jackson wouldn’t be working out. Ainge indicated that there may have been something to the idea that Jackson didn’t want to be drafted by Boston.

“Agents and players have all sorts of motivations to get to certain places, as we’ve seen in the past,” Ainge said, per Forsberg. “Remember last year, Kris Dunn didn’t want to come here; we didn’t hold it against him. We felt like we were just taking the player that we wanted [last year]. And I think the same thing this time. I don’t think we were trying to penalize Josh too much, but we didn’t get to see him or talk to him face-to-face.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Asked about the Kristaps Porzingis rumors that swirled around the Celtics this week, Ainge said that he felt they were “a little blown out of proportion” (Twitter link via Forsberg).
  • Ainge suggested there could be “some truth” to the idea that teams ask for more from the Celtics in trades due to the team’s stockpile of assets (link via Scott Souza of The MetroWest Daily News). People around the league know the things that we have and they are asking for some of our prime real estate,” Ainge said. “Over the last few trading periods it’s been a little bit of a hurdle. But the bottom line is we have to do the trades that we believe in.”
  • One player Ainge generally isn’t interested in discussing in trade talks is Jaylen Brown. The team president said on CSNNE that Boston gets the urge to “hang up” when Brown’s name comes up in negotiations (Twitter link via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe).
  • It’s possible that neither of the Celtics’ draft-and-stash prospects will be on the team’s Summer League roster. Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets that Guerschon Yabusele won’t play due to foot surgery, while Ainge said that Ante Zizic has visa issues, raising doubts about his status (Twitter link via Jay King of MassLive.com).

Draft Night Rumors: Holiday, Smith Jr., Butler, Cavs

9:14pm: In response to Amico’s note below, Channing Frye has posted an Instagram message dismissing the idea that he’s planning to retire.

Meanwhile, Mavs president Donnie Nelson also addresses an item below, telling reporters that he thinks the Dennis Smith Jr. pick means the Mavs likely won’t target a point guard in free agency (Twitter link via Damon R. Marx of The Dallas Morning News).

8:28pm: The Mavericks may not be ready to hand their offense over to No. 9 pick Dennis Smith Jr. The team still plans to make a run at Pelicans‘ point guard Jrue Holiday once free agency begins, tweets Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. A former All-Star in Philadelphia, Holiday will be seeking a significant raise after making less than $11.3MM this season. The 27-year-old averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists in 67 games.

There’s more news from an eventful draft night:

  • Dallas coach Rick Carlisle offered a different perspective, posts Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Before being asked, Carlisle told reporters that he sees Smith as an immediate starter, noting his blend of intelligence, maturity and athleticism. “We believe he’s going to be a tremendous player for us and right away,” he said.
  • Carlisle added that the Mavs definitely preferred Smith over French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was taken by the Knicks at No. 8. The coach said there was “uproarious” applause in the Dallas draft room when New York’s pick was announced (Twitter link).
  • In negotiations for Jimmy Butler, the Celtics refused to part with their No. 3 pick this year or the Nets‘ pick for 2018, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Butler was shipped to Minnesota in a deal involving the No. 7 pick, and the Celtics may send Jayson Tatum, whom they drafted at No. 3, to Indiana in a trade for Paul George.
  • Cavaliers veterans Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson may retire this offseason, relays Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). If they do, it will reduce the salary commitment in Cleveland and open up two roster spots, giving the new GM some flexibility. Frye, 34, made more than $7.4MM this season, while Jefferson, who turned 37 yesterday, collected a little more than $2.6MM.

Celtics Rumors: No. 3 Pick, Tatum, Isaac, Smith

With just over 24 hours until the NBA draft gets underway, one NBA executive tells Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that the Celtics may be looking into the possibility of moving down in the draft again. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets that he has heard the same thing.

Per Bulpett, most sources still believe that the Celtics’ decision will come down to Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum, but it doesn’t appear Boston is necessarily locked in on one specific player at No. 3. Jonathan Isaac has even “crept into the speculation,” according to Bulpett, who adds that another exec believes the C’s would like to find a way to end up with point guard Dennis Smith Jr. — that scenario would almost certainly involve a trade down.

Here’s more out of Boston:

  • A coach from one NBA franchise tells Bulpett that if you asked 10 different teams which player Danny Ainge wants in this draft, you might get 10 different answers. “We call him the minister of disinformation,” the coach said of Ainge. “He’s putting a lot of stuff out there.”
  • Rumblings on Wednesday have indicated the Celtics may be leaning more toward Tatum than Jackson with the third overall pick. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress appears to be on board that bandwagon — his latest mock draft for The Vertical has Boston selecting Tatum at No. 3, though he acknowledges Jackson is also in the conversation.
  • The NBA’s rumor mill appears to be more active this year than it usually is prior to the draft, and the Celtics – loaded with assets of all sorts – are at the eye of the storm, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Ball, Ntilikina, Smith

Kansas forward Josh Jackson wanted to work out for the Celtics after they traded for the No. 3 pick, but couldn’t work out the scheduling, tweets Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The Celtics are reportedly deciding between Jackson and Duke forward Jayson Tatum if they decide to keep the pick, and Tatum held a workout in Boston on Monday.

Jackson added that he has spoken to Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown and believes they would form a good combination (Twitter link). The former Jayhawk also disputed a rumor that he refused to work out for the team unless he was promised Boston wouldn’t trade its pick (Twitter link).

There’s more as the top prospects met with the media today in New York:

  • Lonzo Ball confirmed to reporters his only pre-draft meeting was with the Lakers, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Ball also believes L.A. traded D’Angelo Russell to open up a spot for him and he can see that “the Lakers have a plan.” He adds that the Lakers haven’t promised to take him, relays Adam Zagoria of Fanrag Sports (Twitter link), saying, “We’ll just find out tomorrow night.” Ball also explained why he turned down a session with the Celtics when they had the top pick, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “If it’s either play for the hometown or go No. 1, I’d rather play for the hometown,” Ball said.
  • Frank Ntilikina met with the Knicks front office today, including team president Phil Jackson, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The French point guard, who is reportedly in strong consideration with New York’s No. 8 pick, said the team wanted to meet him in person.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. also met with Jackson and the Knicks front office, Begley relays (Twitter link). The North Carolina State point guard believes he can be effective in the triangle offense.
  • Indiana’s OG Anunoby said doctors have assured him that he can resume basketball activities by October or early November, according to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Anunoby had surgery on his right knee after a season-ending injury in January.
  • Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen was a Timberwolves fan growing up, and Minnesota was among the four teams he worked out for, Fischer tweets. The others were the Mavericks, Celtics and Magic, and he had a meeting with the Knicks.
  • Gonzaga’s Zach Collins had private workouts with the Magic, Wolves, Kings, Mavericks and Suns, and a group session with the Lakers, Fischer relays (Twitter link).
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard held individual workouts for the Lakers, Pistons, Knicks and Mavericks (Twitter link).
  • The Nets and Bulls were among the teams to work out international big man Isaiah Hartenstein leading up to the draft, tweets David Pick.

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Jackson, Tatum, Ferguson

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell will hold a last-minute workout for the Knicks today, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. The sophomore out of Louisville, whose session was originally scheduled for Tuesday, is being considered with the No 8 pick, Begley adds, along with French point guard Frank Ntilikina, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen and others. Team president Phil Jackson is intrigued by Mitchell’s defensive prowess and athleticism and likes the fact that he prefers to work out in a group setting to showcase his defense. Joining Mitchell today will be Villanova’s Josh Hart, Miami’s Davon Reed, Iowa State’s Naz Long and others.

There’s more draft news on the eve of the big event:

  • The Celtics have received Josh Jackson‘s medical records, but the Kansas forward still refuses to work out for the team, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Boston appears to be leaning toward Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick, Ford states, but no decision has been made.
  • Ford still has Jackson as the third selection in his latest mock draft, which was released today. Markelle Fultz remains No. 1, followed by Lonzo Ball, with the rest of the top 10 as Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Monk, Zach Collins and Markkanen.
  • Terrance Ferguson recently pulled out of workouts with the Pistons, Hawks and Bucks, tweets Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. It’s possible that Ferguson received a draft promise from the Nuggets or Nets or he may have been responding to poor workouts (Twitter link).
  • A 7-footer with a soft shooting touch, Markkanen is drawing comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, writes Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Some scouts believe the 20-year-old Finnish star is the best 3-point shooter in the draft. “It’s probably not fair to him to have some young guy compared to a Hall of Fame player and champion,” Markkanen said of Nowitzki. “We have similarities because of the height, being from Europe and shooting. But I have a long way to go before I’m in the same category as him. Hopefully, I can get there one day.”
  • The Wizards will work out six players today, the team announced on its website. They are French center Alpha Kaba, Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain Jr., VCU’s JeQuan Lewis, Eastern Michigan’s Jalen Ross, Niagara’s Tahjere McCall and East Tennessee State’s Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Jayson Tatum Works Out For Celtics

Former Duke forward Jayson Tatum met with the Celtics on Monday, working out for Boston at the team’s practice facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, a source tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. It was the first time that Tatum had paid a visit to the C’s.

The Celtics confirmed on Monday afternoon that their trade with the Sixers, which will see them move down from No. 1 to No. 3, is now official. While we know that Philadelphia will use its newly-acquired pick on Markelle Fultz, it’s still not clear which prospect Boston will draft at No. 3.

Josh Jackson is viewed as the favorite for the Celtics, but there are increased rumblings that Tatum remains very much in the mix as well. Lonzo Ball also figures to be an option if the Lakers pass on him with the second overall selection, though it remains to be seen if he and/or Jackson will work out for Boston before Thursday.

Speaking to reporters today, Celtics president Danny Ainge said that the team believes “there’s a really good chance the player we’ll take at No. 3 is the player we would have taken at No. 1” (Twitter link via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe). However, he also suggested the team hasn’t necessarily zeroed in one specific player, indicating that there may be multiple players the team would happy with at No. 3 (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com).

While I wouldn’t expect the Celtics to move down any further than they already have, it’s worth noting that ESPN’s Chad Ford reported the Suns (No. 4) have talked to Boston about a deal. Phoenix reportedly has its eye on either Ball or Jackson, so if the Celtics would be happy with Tatum, it will be interesting to see if Ainge is willing to discuss moving down again in a deal with the Suns. For what it’s worth, Ford tweets that the Celtics have Jackson and Tatum ranked as first-tier prospects alongside Fultz and Ball.

Ford’s Latest: Lakers, Suns, Kings, Magic, Mavs

Sources in Los Angeles say that the Lakers have been “moving closer and closer” in recent days to making Lonzo Ball their man at No. 2, ESPN’s Chad Ford writes in his latest mock draft (Insider-only link). However, the Suns also have legitimate interest in Ball, and have had conversations with both the Lakers and Celtics about trading up, says Ford. Phoenix has interest in Josh Jackson too, but if both Jackson and Ball come off the board in the top three and the Suns don’t move up, Ford expects Jayson Tatum to be the team’s choice.

Here are several more interesting tidbits from Ford’s latest mock:

  • The Kings have explored moving up to No. 2 or No. 3, with De’Aaron Fox as their target. Ford’s mock suggests Sacramento will have a chance to nab Fox with the No. 5 pick though.
  • The Magic have shown “serious interest” in Jayson Tatum, but Ford thinks he’ll be off the board at No. 6, and has Orlando picking Jonathan Isaac instead.
  • The Knicks and Mavericks both appear to be very high on French point guard Frank Ntilikina. Ford says not to be surprised if Dallas attempts to leapfrog New York by trading up to No. 6 or No. 7 to secure Ntilikina.
  • Ford’s newest mock forecasts a potential fall out of the top 10 for Malik Monk. ESPN’s draft guru suggests that if Monk makes it past the Timberwolves and Knicks, he could slip to the Hornets at No. 11.
  • There has been “a lot of buzz” about the possibility of OG Anunoby landing with the Nuggets, Ford writes. The injured Indiana forward is receiving interest as high as No. 10 (Kings), but Denver would be a good fit, since the Nuggets wouldn’t need him to play right away.
  • The Trail Blazers, who hold three first-round picks, continue to shop around No. 20, per Ford.

Celtics Notes: Ainge, Fultz, Tatum, Theis

Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, has risked his legacy by trading the top pick in this year’s draft, writes Chris Mannix of The Vertical. Mannix points out that Ainge gave up Markelle Fultz, a player who scouts seem unanimously sold on, for a chance at Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum, who play the same position as Boston’s first pick from last year, Jaylen Brown. Ainge may be preparing for a larger deal, but the Pelicans seem to have no desire to move Anthony Davis, and the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler or the Pacers’ Paul George would probably be just a brief rental. Mannix believes Philadelphia now has a team that can contend for the playoffs next season and possibly grow into the East’s next power. If that happens, Ainge’s reputation will take a major hit.

There’s more news out of Boston:

  • The Celtics get an A-minus for the deal and the Sixers get an A-plus from Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated. He writes that Fultz’s skills don’t fit with Boston’s immediate needs and his presence would have complicated Isaiah Thomas‘ free agency in 2018. Ainge, who owns Brooklyn’s unprotected first-rounder next season, may have two lottery picks to work with if the Lakers’ choice falls between No. 2 and 5. If not, he will have the Kings’ first-rounder in 2019.
  • Despite reports that they are pursuing another deal, the Celtics are telling agents they plan to use the No. 3 pick, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.
  • Tatum is a strong possibility for the Celtics if the Lakers opt for Jackson at No. 2, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). Boston ranks Fultz, Jackson, Tatum and Lonzo Ball as its top four prospects.
  • The trade slightly raises Boston’s cap space to $19.8MM, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM, who adds that it can still be increased with other moves. The Sixers now have $40.2MM available, second only to the Kings.
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation examines the Celtics’ possible motives for the deal, including a desire to take Jackson, to avoid conflict with Thomas, to set up a bigger deal involving Butler or George or to build a team capable of taking over the East when LeBron James retires.
  • The Celtics have “serious interest” in German forward Daniel Theis, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 25-year-old is a free agent after his contract with Brose Bamberg expired.

Draft Notes: Briscoe, Fox, Ferguson, Artis

Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe had to cancel his remaining workouts because of an ankle injury, according to Adam Zagoria of FanRagSports. The scheduled sessions were with the Lakers, Kings, Bucks and Pacers. Briscoe had reportedly been impressive in workouts with the Knicks, Sixers and a few other teams. DraftExpress lists Briscoe 71st in its list of top 100 prospects.

There’s more draft-related news as the clock winds down toward Thursday:

  • De’Aaron Fox, Briscoe’s backcourt partner at Kentucky, is intrigued by the prospect of joining former Wildcats Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker in Phoenix, writes Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated. The Suns hold the No. 4 pick, but seem unlikely to take another guard unless they make a trade to clear out their already overcrowded backcourt. Fox, who is considered a top five pick, sees the Lakers at No. 2 as another possibility. “I’ve heard they’re trying to move D’Angelo [Russell] to the 2,” he says. “Even if he does play point, I feel like we could play together. A lot of teams play two point guards anyway.” Fox touches on several other subjects, including his rivalry with UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, in a wide-ranging piece.
  • Regardless of the order, the first five picks in the draft appear to be set, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Turner talked to several league executives and found a consensus. After Washington’s Markelle Fultz is taken at No. 1, Ball, Fox, Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Duke’s Jayson Tatum will round out the top five. However, some believe Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac has a shot at being the fifth pick.
  • Terrance Ferguson, who is projected as the Nets‘ pick at No. 27 in the latest mock drafts from DraftExpress and Chad Ford of ESPN.com, will work out for Brooklyn today, according to NetsDaily.com (Twitter link).
  • Pitt’s Jamel Artis has scheduled workouts today with the Pistons and Monday with the Thunder, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders.
  • The Jazz held a workout Saturday that could be their last one before the draft, relays Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. Baylor’s Johnathan Motley was the highest-ranked prospect on hand, joined by Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, Houston’s Damyean Dotson, North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks, La Salle’s Jordan Price and Southeast Missouri State’s Antonius Cleveland. “It was great,” Motley said. “Played with a lot of energy, played good defensively and shot the ball well during the workout. I think I did pretty good.”

Latest On Celtics-Sixers Deal

Saturday’s blockbuster deal that will allow the Sixers to draft Markelle Fultz validates “the process” that former GM Sam Hinkie brought to Philadelphia, writes Tim Cato of SB Nation. The Sixers were able to get the No. 1 pick from Boston in exchange for their own selection at No. 3 and the Lakers’ first-rounder next year, which will be conveyed only if it falls between No. 2 and No. 5, or the Kings’ first-rounder the following year. Hinkie’s philosophy of getting high draft picks and collecting assets gave Philadelphia the ammunition to make the deal, Cato notes. The Sixers now have a promising core of Fultz, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to build their future around.

There’s a lot more this morning as writers weigh in on the trade:

  • The Sixers held a private workout with Fultz Saturday night before agreeing to the deal, and the Celtics weren’t notified that the trade was done before the news became public, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. He notes that the Celtics’ already crowded backcourt factored into their decision to pass on Fultz (Twitter link). Potential Boston draftees Josh Jackson and Lonzo Ball both turned down workouts with the team, so the Celtics haven’t seen either player in person (Twitter link). They watched Jayson Tatum during a session in Los Angeles.
  • The trade happened five days before the draft because the Sixers and Celtics are both hoping to make other deals, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Fultz, who grew up in Maryland, told Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer that he likes the idea of playing relatively close to home and being with a rising team like the Sixers. Sources told Pompey that Fultz was disappointed when Philadelphia failed to land the top pick at the lottery. “They have a young team, and I think the upside of it would be crazy,” Fultz said. “I’m close to home. So a lot of my family can come out and just show love, and this city has great fans.”
  • The Celtics could have seven first-rounders over the next three drafts, tweets ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg, who details the picks.
  • On his website, Derek Bodner examines how the Sixers acquired the assets they used to land Fultz.
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