Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Celtics president Danny Ainge: We are getting the player we want


The Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said that "he feels the player they would have selected No. 1 will still be on the board at No. 3" when the team is ready to pick.

"We think there's a really good chance the player we'll take at [No.] 3 is the same player we would have taken at [No.] 1". The 76ers will be giving up their 2018 first-round pick that was received via the Los Angeles Lakers which Philly acquired during the 2015 National Basketball Association season from the Phoenix Suns.

California guard Jabari Bird, who worked out for the Sixers on Monday, thinks Fultz will standout at the next level. ESPN reported earlier this month that Fultz was "the top guy" on Boston's draft board, but that the team was also considering alternatives, including Lonzo Ball, De'Aaron Fox, Josh Jackson, and Jayson Tatum. But if either of those picks become the first overall, the Celtics will receive the other pick. "We came to a conclusion it was the right situation and the right point in the deal progression to make a deal, and we did".

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"We are very, very excited about what we've been able to accomplish the last few days getting this trade done with Philadelphia", Ainge said. "Once Boston got No. 1, immediately there was a discussion that talked about some of the interest we had in No. 1".

The actual details of the trade are more favorable to the Celtics than most reports suggested (I didn't see anyone report Boston could have the option to take Philly's pick in 2019 if the first-rounder rolls over until then).

"In Boston's case, I totally get it".

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The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 25 games during his lone college season at Washington, excelling on a team that finished 9-22 and lost its final 13 games. Ainge also downplayed the suggestion that Boston might have aided what might be its primary Eastern Conference competition down the road and said Boston's front office was unanimous on the decision to move down. As for the Celtics, they add to the absurd war chest of first round draft picks accumulated (nine draft picks in the first rounds of the next two drafts) which they will nearly certainly be using as an all-out assault on bringing in existing franchise talent.

Griffin's departure comes three days before the draft - the Cavs are now without a pick - and on the eve of free agency. But the addition of Fultz to a talented albeit unproven young core that includes Simmons, center Joel Embiid and power forward Dario Saric would certainly make the 76ers one of the NBA's most intriguing teams next season.

All indications are the 76ers will select Fultz, who grew up in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and played his freshman season at the University of Washington.

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