What’s Danny Ainge’s end game?
That’s the question Boston Celtics fans are asking after trade rumors involving the No. 1 overall pick in next week’s NBA draft began to swirl Friday, and one scenario floated has the C’s seeking to acquire additional first-round picks as a precursor to then trading for Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler.
The madness started when reports surfaced stating the Celtics were in serious trade talks with the Philadelphia 76ers about the No. 1 pick. Boston reportedly would acquire a package headlined by the No. 3 pick that Philadelphia owns — the Los Angeles Lakers own the No. 2 pick — and additional draft picks.
The Celtics’ intentions are unclear, but some have suggested that Boston might not be sold on Washington point guard Markelle Fultz and actually might prefer Kansas’ Josh Jackson. Trading down to No. 3 could allow the Celtics to select Jackson — Fultz and UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball are expected to go No. 1 and No. 2, respectively — while also giving Boston additional assets with which to work.
Going after a proven superstar is another route the Celtics could take, as mentioned in Adam Zagoria’s tweet above. Boston has been linked to Butler for a while, and adding him to the Celtics’ current mix could give them enough firepower to topple the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, though that much certainly is debatable. Plus, it’s hard to imagine what the Bulls are asking for in exchange for Butler or whether going in such a direction would give the Celtics any chance whatsoever against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals even if they overcame the Cavs in the East.
Perhaps Ainge has a vision. But right now, it’s nearly impossible to figure out. Stay tuned.
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