76ers ac­quire No. 1 draft pick from Celtics

Trade up two spots for chance to take Fultz

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TIM REYNOLDS

His­tory will say the Bos­ton Celtics passed on the No. 1 over­all pick in this year’s NBA draft, not only trad­ing it away but do­ing so in a deal with one of the team’s fiercest ri­vals.

Danny Ainge isn’t wor­ried. Philadel­phia and Bos­ton com­pleted their trade of draft picks on Mon­day, the 76ers ac­quir­ing the No. 1 pick from the Celtics and net­ting the chance to draft Wash­ing­ton guard Markelle Fultz. The Celtics moved down two spots to No. 3 and picked up an­other first-round se­lec­tion in ei­ther 2018 or 2019 — with Ainge say­ing the deal came at no cost to Bos­ton what­so­ever.

“We’re get­ting the player we want. They’re get­ting the player they want,” said Ainge, the Celtics’ pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball oper­a­tions. “And we’re get­ting an ad­di­tional player that we want in next year’s draft or the year af­ter. It’s a good deal for both teams.”

The player Philadel­phia wants is clear: The 76ers wouldn’t say it Mon­day, but they’re go­ing to take Fultz bar­ring some­thing cat­a­clysmic hap­pen­ing be­fore Thurs­day.

“We felt like the move from 3 to 1 was worth the cost of a first-round pick in the fu­ture,” 76ers pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball oper­a­tions Bryan Colan­gelo said.

Next up will be the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers, ex­pected to take UCLA guard Lonzo Ball. And then come the Celtics, start­ing the real in­trigue. If Ainge is to be be­lieved, even they don’t know who they will take at No. 3 — but he in­sisted

that which­ever choice they make there would have been the choice they made at No. 1 if this deal hadn’t gone down. The Celtics had Duke’s Jayson Ta­tum in for a work­out on Mon­day and hope to have Kansas’ Josh Jack­son in on Tues­day.

“I think they’re both ter­rific play­ers,” Ainge said. “I’ll say that . ... I like both of those kids. I think they’re both ter­rific tal­ents.”

So the way he looks at it, the deal is a win-win. For now, Bos­ton has seven first-round picks in the next three years.

And that means the Celtics could be gear­ing up for more moves soon.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing with the No. 1 seed in the East this sea­son be­fore get­ting ousted in the con­fer­ence fi­nals by Cleve­land in a one-sided se­ries, the Celtics have con­sid­ered pack­ag­ing some of their fu­ture picks for an es­tab­lished star that could help them close the gap on the Cava­liers and Golden State.

With Isa­iah Thomas and Al Hor­ford, Ainge is look­ing to make a deal like the seven-for-one trade in 2007 that brought Kevin Gar­nett — and an NBA-record 17th cham­pi­onship — to Bos­ton.

“We are cer­tainly aware of our com­pe­ti­tion,” Ainge said. “We know how good Cleve­land and we know how good Golden State is. We watched the same Fi­nals that every­body did. But I think we’re still mov­ing on the same path . ... And when the right deals come around, we will move on them.”

Philadel­phia will hold the No. 1 pick for the sec­ond straight year. The Six­ers worked Fultz out on Satur­day night as talks with the Celtics got to the fi­nal stages. It was agreed to in prin­ci­ple at that point, with the last holdup be­ing league ap­proval on Mon­day.

There are some con­di­tions on the fu­ture first-rounder Bos­ton gets out of this deal. If the Lak­ers hold a pick be­tween No. 2 and No. 5 next sea­son, Bos­ton now gets that one as well. If not, Philadel­phia will send Bos­ton ei­ther its own first-rounder in 2019 or Sacra­mento’s first-rounder that year.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Wash­ing­ton guard Markelle Fultz is likely to be taken first over­all in Thurs­day’s NBA Draft by the Philadel­phia 76ers, who ac­quired the pick in a trade on Mon­day.

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