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).