On June 27, 2013 the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets agreed in principle on a trade that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and DJ White to Brooklyn in exchange for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, first-round picks in 2014, 2016, and 2018, and the option to swap 2017 first-round picks. Four years later, Brooklyn finished a league-worst 20-62, giving them a 25% chance to land the first-overall pick in this summer’s draft. Boston finished at 53-29, first in the Eastern Conference.
Tuesday night, one day before game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, the Brooklyn Nets won the first-overall pick, which will be swapped with Boston’s selection and will be no better than 27th. Boston became the first conference finalist to ever win the draft lottery. The Lakers, 76ers (from Kings), Suns, Kings (from 76ers) round out the top 5.
The first 14 picks are as follows:
1. Celtics (via Nets)
3. 76ers (via Kings)
5. Kings (via 76ers)
10. Kings (via Pelicans)
Washington point guard Markelle Fultz is most likely to become the Celtics first-overall pick just over a month from now, ironically enough at the Barclays Center, home of the Nets. But this creates an interesting dilemma for Boston and GM Danny Ainge and his superstar point guard, Isaiah Thomas. IT, the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA draft, is 28 and looking at a max deal come next summer, meaning he will be owed around $40M while in his mid-30’s.
Do the Celtics draft Fultz and let Thomas go get max money elsewhere next summer? Do they go ahead and trade him this summer, bringing back more pieces and picks to build around Fultz (I say “build” as if they didn’t finish first in the East this season)? Or do they trade the pick and bring back a player like Jimmy Butler from the Bulls and then sign a Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin in free agency this summer?
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