NBA Rumors: Celtics Have Been After Lakers’ 2018 Pick For Over A Year

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The Boston Celtics have become notorious for stockpiling assets, and that reputation held true just days before the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Celtics and 76ers sent shockwaves around the league Monday, as Boston agreed to send the No. 1 overall selection in Thursday’s draft to Philadelphia in exchange for the No. 3 pick this year and a future first-rounder.

The deal came as a bit of a shocker, as it’s obviously uncommon to trade away the top selection. But Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made it clear that the player his team had hopes of picking still would be available at No. 3. Not only that, but apparently the C’s have been after the Lakers’ pick for quite some time.

Not too long after the blockbuster trade was agreed upon, 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo revealed the two sides have been talking trade dating back to last year.

Most scouts have next year’s draft centered around four players who are believed to be the best in the class. Spanish swingman Luka Doncic is the very early favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick next year, with Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. not too far behind.

There also are two top-tier big men ticketed for the NBA in 2018: Texas’ Mohamed Bamba and Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton. The Celtics have struggled in the interior for a number of years now, so they could have their eyes set on either of those players.

Keep in mind, though, that Boston only obtains the Lakers’ first-round pick next year if it falls between No. 2 and No. 5. If it’s outside that range, the C’s instead will acquire a 2019 first-rounder from either the 76ers or Sacramento Kings.

So, there was obvious risk involved in dealing for L.A.’s top selection in 2018, but it’s an asset Ainge and Co. clearly coveted.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

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