Celtics trade No. 1, expect to get man

Sixers plan for free agency comes into focus

History will say the Boston Celtics passed on the No. 1 overall pick in this year's National Basketball Association draft, not only trading it away but doing so in a deal with one of the team's fiercest rivals. I have a good relationship with Bryan Colangelo and Jerry Colangelo and I think they're doing a fantastic job there in Philadelphia. "They have a lot of future assets and we're gonna get a player that we like in addition to some further assets".

Colangelo said he had discussed the Lakers' 2018 pick, which former GM Sam Hinkie secured for Michael Carter-Williams, with Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren for "a year and a half, it seems".

So much so that he cracked a joke at the expense of Celtics president Danny Ainge. "We have no announcement at this time related to new leadership of the Cavaliers basketball operations group, but we are confident our current front office will continue to aggressively explore and pursue opportunities to improve our team in the weeks ahead".

We won't officially know where any players are going until the draft kicks off on June 22nd, but at this moment the first pick appears to be all but a done deal. If not, the Celtics have set themselves up even more nicely for a future that already includes the Nets' 2018 first-rounder.

Philadelphia will hold the No. 1 pick for the second straight year, and worked Fultz out on Saturday night as talks with the Celtics got to the final stages. His decision to join another team has forced the Pacers to aggressively enter trade negotiations in hopes of receiving a return investment on their 2010 draft pick.

"According to a high-level front-office source, the reason the Sixers "only" paid a price of two first-round picks is because both teams see little separation between no. 1 and no. 3". Using that ammunition to bring in George - who averaged a career-high 23.7 points-per-game on 46-percent shooting last season, and is considered a superstar talent by numerous top National Basketball Association minds - makes too much sense for the Celtics not to pull the trigger if they want to try and legitimately compete with the Cavaliers in a depleted Eastern Conference. "But we're not afraid of that". The point guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists for the 9-22 Huskies. In 2016, the Sixers picked Ben Simmons, who didn't play at all during the season after breaking a bone in his foot. He was the top freshman scorer in the country.

Given that the 76ers are now widely expected to draft Fultz, Ainge's comments suggest that the Celtics didn't intend to draft the Washington point guard.

In short, Philadelphia gets the guard it wanted in Fultz, and Boston gets a draft-pick haul in exchange for sliding down only two spots this year.

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