NBA fans didn’t have to wait too long after the finals for the excitement to ramp back up.
Over the weekend, the Boston Celtics dealt their No. 1 overall selection in this Thursday’s draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for this year’s No. 3 pick and a first rounder next year.
There is no mystery to what the Sixers will do with the first pick either as they will take Washington guard Markelle Fultz.
It looks as though it was the first big domino that will fall in a busy summer filled with transactions and surprising moves.
Here is the latest chatter around the league involving Fultz and Indiana Pacers star Paul George.
Celtics weren’t sold on Fultz
All signs pointed to Fultz wearing green and white in Beantown soon.
Heck, fans were even buying No. 20 Fultz Celtics jerseys.
But something went wrong over the past week that seemingly scared Boston away and prompted them to deal that No. 1 pick to the 76ers.
According to ESPN’s Michael Eaves, there were “some within the Celtics organization” that “were not impressed with his workout.”
The most glaring critique was that he was not as explosive as they expected/hoped. Afterwards, team felt as if he was NOT the best prospect. https://t.co/83wM5JINWl
— Michael Eaves (@michaeleaves) June 18, 2017
Philadelphia recently hosted Fultz and are big fans of what he could provide to their young, rebuilding roster, which made the deal a no-brainer for them according to Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer. For the Celtics, a franchise that was just in the Eastern Conference finals last month, they could either hold on to the picks or continue to wheel and deal.
Given general manager Danny Ainge’s track record, it’s almost a lock that he’s not done yet and there are some major stars like Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls that could be in play.
Let the PG sweepstakes begin
Most folks around basketball, minus those in Indiana, would have already told you that Paul George wasn’t sticking with the Pacers for long. But Sunday provided a swift punch to the gut for Indiana fans as George said he will not return to the team following the 2018 season, as first reported by the Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
His preferred destination of choice? His hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
George’s actions weren’t to stir the pot or create drama. In fact, he tried to do right by the Pacers, the franchise he spent the first seven seasons of his career with. By telling them, he gave president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard the chance to trade him for some kind of return instead of letting him just walk in free agency.
The obvious problem is that the Pacers’ return might be limited if teams around the league view George as a one-year rental before he heads to Los Angeles next summer. Regardless, it looks as though talks are already heating up.
Per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports, Pritchard and the Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a deal involving George, but nothing serious has come of it just yet. However, if things do indeed start gaining traction, O’Connor reported that the Lakers would “parachute into” discussions with the Pacers to accelerate the process of George donning purple and gold.