By: Ben Pagani
The Celtics and 76ers have set up a trade to be finalized by Monday. The Sixers will receive the Celtics 2017 first overall pick, while giving the Celtics their 2017 third overall pick and future first rounders. This trade works for both sides because the 76ers are only missing a high potential point guard, while the Celtics are planning for the future and present.
Reports have said that Danny Ainge loves Josh Jackson and was going to take him at number one anyway. This trade gives the Celtics who they would have gotten with a lot more insurance. One problem Danny saw with Fultz is that he is a guard. He didn't want to add another guard to an already guard heavy team. That being said, the Blazers passed on Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft because they did not need a guard and selected Sam Bowie. As we all know that turned out to be one of the biggest draft errors ever, as Jordan became the best basketball player of all time. Danny Ainge better be right with this one.
The other reason Danny did this move is to bring in a superstar, and to form a superteam. The Celtics are planning on sending the picks they get in the Sixers deal and Jae Crowder to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler. This would form a big 3, and put the Celtics in contention to beat the Cavs and get out of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics needed a player who could be the 1st option on a championship team and Butler can do that. He can shut down LeBron, KD, or any team's primary scoring option with his stellar defense, rebound, get to the basket, shoot from anywhere, and show leadership on this young team.
The final reason Danny did this trade is because he knows if he plays his cards right he can sign another block buster free agent this offseason. This free agent will most likely be Gordon Hayward. For this move to work, Danny would have to renounce Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Green, and James Young. Waive Tyler Zeller and Jordan Mickey, and trade Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and a pick to the Bulls for Butler. This would make a roster consisting of Gordon Hayward, Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, Demetrius Jackson, and 6 rookie level contracts. This would form a superteam, and would mean that the Celtics are in win now mode. If the Celtics were to make these moves our future wouldn’t be nearly as bright, but our present would be brighter than ever. The real question is, can this team beat the Warriors?
There is one other thing Danny can do with this trade. For this scenario, the Celtics will have to keep the picks they get in the Sixers trade. This would give them a top 5 guaranteed pick for either 2018 or 2019. In doing this they will still be able to sign Gordon Hayward, who would be as impactful as Jimmy Butler. Basically stating, the Celtics can play win now basketball, while having a bright future. I think this would also put the Celtics ahead of the Cavs in the East.
The reality is that no one is beating the Warriors for the next couple of years. Yes, the Celtics with Jimmy Butler and/or Gordon Hayward will be able to win the East, but they will definitely have trouble against the Warriors. Unless Danny Ainge really thinks Josh Jackson will be better than Markelle Fultz, then I don't know the reason for this trade. We’ll just have to see what Danny Ainge comes up with.