There was no movement in the NBA Draft Lottery from the original order of the draft, but tumult at the top is likely on the way.
Both the Lakers and Celtics seem to be in quick fix mode as both are already tired of rebuilding.The two winningest franchises in league history both are interested in trading their top overall pick in next month’s NBA Draft.
Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding wrote this week that”the Lakers will actively explore trading the pick.They want to get better as soon as possible,in part to make sure Philadelphia doesn’t get too good of a pick next year when the Lakers’ first-rounder conveys to the 76ers if it’s outside the top three. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is also seeking a better blend of youth and experience on the roster.
“But it’s an open question if the Lakers can find a star another club is willing to send away. Trading away the likes of Paul George or Jimmy Butler would be hard-to-explain steps back for the Pacers or Bulls. And with George Karl gone and a new arena to open, the Kings aren’t likely to move DeMarcus Cousins.”
Another option for the Lakers would be to explore a Carmelo Anthony trade with old pal Phil Jackson. Anthony would surely waive his no-trade clause to go to Los Angeles, the Knicks desperately want to get a top pick in this year’s draft (a Brandon Ingram – Kristaps Porzingis foundation is enticing), and with Anthony in place prior to free agencythe Lakers could make a legitimate push for the services of Kevin Durant or other big names in free agency.
As for the Celtics, discussions with the 76ers regarding Jahlil Okaforwill likely be revisited (a deal between Boston and Philadelphia nearly went down at the trade deadline). Celtics boss Danny Aingeis tight with Jerry and Bryan Colangelo dating back to his time in Phoenix as a player and coach, so much so that whenAingeresigned as head coach of the Suns in 1999 to spend more time with his family, Jerry Colangelo said there would have been a spot in Phoenix’s front office waiting for him if he ever wanted it.
The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett spoke with Bryan Colangeloabout Ainge and the Celtics’ current position this week.
“Danny’s gone through a long process,” he said. “They’re a few jumps ahead of us with respect to where they stand and where we are, but we’re both holding multiple picks over the next couple of years.
“(Ainge) is probably in a better position as far as free agency goes to sell a story that makes more sense to someone. But I’m sure we’ll talk and see what might be there.
“I don’t know if I want to help the Boston Celtics, given that they’re in the Eastern Conference, but we’ll have to see just how much it helps us when we’re talking about deals with them.”
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, who has dropped nuggets in the past that he knows people who know people within the Celtics’ front office, told “Toucher and Rich” on98.5 FM (Boston) Thursday thathe believes the Celtics willindeedtrade the No. 3 pick to Philly in exchange for Okafor.
“I think the guy they’re going to trade for is Okafor,” Simmons said. “If you think about it, it makes a ton of sense for Philly. They spend all these high lottery picks on big guys. Meanwhile, the league has gone small and you need perimeter guys to win in the NBA. If you put Ben Simmons with any of those guys, it doesn’t really make any sense.”
As for why it would be a good fit for the Celtics, their biggest issue last season was having a legitimate presence in the middle. Most every GM in the league recognizes that the league is now dominated by either sharp-shooting guards or tall, physical freaks of nature like LeBron James or Kevin Durant and that traditional, back to the basket centers are a thing of the past. But Ainge is a realist, and knows that acquiring a prototypicalplayer on that level is easier said than done. Okafor is not tailor-made for today’s NBA, but his ceiling is much higher than any player the Celtics could pick at No. 3.