The Boston Celtics secured the No. 1 overall draft pick for the first time in franchise history Tuesday night. And if team co-owner Wyc Grousbeck has his way, they’ll hold onto it.
There’s been speculation the Celtics could trade the top pick as part of a package for a proven superstar. Paul George and Jimmy Butler are two names that immediately come to mind.
But Grousbeck, who represented the team at the NBA Draft Lottery, explained why doing so might not be in Boston’s best interest.
“You don’t really want to necessarily trade a No. 1 pick in a really good draft for somebody that’s halfway through their career, already making max money,” Grousbeck told WBZ News Radio’s Adam Kaufman on Wednesday. “That’s just a difficult trade to make. First of all, you have to match the money in the trade, so you’ve got to add significant additional players on our side to go just to sort of match the money. So it’s three or four guys going, and one guy coming back.
“That guy better be pretty good, because if you’re drafting No. 1 and you make the pick well — you do really draft a transcendent player — you’ve got that player for five or six years as they build up before the max money even kicks in. It just feels like this is a pick (where) we will listen to offers, I’m sure. We will have conversations all the way through June. But for me, making the first pick is an exciting prospect right now.”
If the Celtics do keep the pick, there’s a strong chance they’ll use it to select Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, whom most experts view as the best player in a very talented 2017 draft class. Other players projected to go in the top five include UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Duke’s Jayson Tatum, Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox.
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