Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Celtics and 76ers have been involved in substantive talks regarding a trade involving the first and third picks in next Thursday’s NBA draft, the Herald has confirmed. The story was first reported by ESPN and The Vertical.
According to Herald sources, however, the move does not appear to be imminent, and it’s quite possible nothing will be decided until perhaps Monday.
Both clubs are looking into what else Philadelphia would need to offer to move up the two positions in the draft. Per the discussions that already have taken place, it’s a given that the 76ers will have to include at least one other future first-round pick.
“Silly Season” is a British-English usage that’s been adopted by soccer and auto race fans to describe the off-season when rumors take the place of news, and, fans, having nothing else to do, build castles in the air out of the rumors that circulate.
Well, if we were wondering when the NBA Silly Season would start, we aren’t any more.
Celtics twitter blew up yesterday evening with reports by Marc Stein, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe that the Sixers and Boston were discussing a swap of the number one pick in the draft.
With the benefit of a few hours of quiet, let’s deconstruct these tweets and various tidbits and see how much there is really there.
This is the only tidbit has been reported, and it seemingly presents Philadelphia’s preferred deal. Nobody expects Boston to trade back to three without some future consideration, and a future first rounder is the absolute bare minimum required to open negotiations.
File that away: It is extremely likely we’re seeing Philadelphia’s opening offer here. If Philly were trying to discredit a Boston trade pitch in the media, they’d leak Boston’s equally unrealistic opening offer (say, the number three pick and three additional unprotected first round picks).
Be assured that if Boston approached the Sixers asking only for a ‘future first’ as part of a ‘package’, the Sixers would’ve closed that deal in a heartbeat.
Subsequently, Marc Stein and Zach Lowe reported the same information.
Some took this as ‘confirmation’ that the negotiations were ‘serious’.
This does not hold up to scrutiny.
If Woj, Lowe and Stein all got Philly’s first offer from independent sources, all they have is Philly’s first offer. None of them had exclusive information, or anything that would indicate they have access to Boston’s view of this offer. Three different people reporting the exact same thing does not mean that things are ‘serious’.
Boston is notoriously quiet when it comes to trade negotiations. Ainge’s front office consists of people who have been working with him for years, some of whom are also related to him. If that office didn’t leak the Perkins trade, the Stevens hiring, the Rondo trade or the Horford signing, they’re not going to leak their counter to Philadelphia’s offer.
Let’s take a look at what we have here: Fultz could be on his way to Philadelphia. So Woj, who’s very careful about these things, is not saying that Fultz is headed to Philly, or that he would even agree to work out for the Sixers.
Secondly, what if Fultz does go to Philadelphia for a workout? What does this mean? It certainly does not mean that Boston has told Fultz that they are not going to draft him. Teams don’t do that. Or, I should say, teams that win 50+ games do not do that.
So what can be read into Fultz working out in Philly? Nothing. Since Boston doesn’t leak as a general rule, Philadelphia is most likely trying to push this trade along. They seem to have leaked the details of their offer to every media outlet they could think of. Even if Boston has rebuffed the offers they’ve made, they can still bring Fultz in for a workout and make it look like talks are either progressing or have been finalized.
Nothing can be inferred from Fultz either working out for the Sixers or not. Dismiss any Fultz workout news from your mind–it’s not relevant.
Clearly, Philadelphia has made an offer, it is equally clear that “Trader” Danny is not going to shoot down any trade offer without a discussion. So, yes, the ‘possibility’ of a trade is real.
Also, of course, Fultz hasn’t heard anything. Again, a team as well run as the Celtics does not promise to draft players, nor do they keep players informed of what their plans are ahead of the draft.
The rest of the noise last night was just that: Noise.
What we have to work with are a few bits of reliable information which strongly suggest that 1) Philadelphia initiated these talks and 2) that the ‘info dump’ is a deliberate move by Philadelphia, given the number of reporters who got this story.
It’s not a given that the Celtics are ‘high’ on Josh Jackson–in fact, this notion seems to have its roots in a single report from a Western Conference GM. We do know that not only has Boston not met with Josh Jackson, Jackson actually canceled a visit to Boston earlier this week. This hardly suggests that Boston has been looking to trade back. Teams as well run as Boston are not going to agree to a deal framework, or even entertain it seriously, without knowing what they’re getting. Josh Jackson is definitely an unknown quantity.
Of course, on the heels of the Philly trade offer, this tidbit came out:
The timing is off.
Aside from the draft, Danny Ainge doesn’t work nights and weekends anymore. I can’t remember the last Celtics trade that broke afterhours, much less afterhours on a Friday. The Rondo trade was agreed to roughly mid afternoon on a Thursday.
Philly wants Boston’s pick more than Boston wants anything Philly has to offer. It seems extremely unlikely that Danny is so eager to make a deal that he’s going to work all weekend on this, especially if they’re not even going to see Jackson until early next week.
All of this information, combined, suggests strongly that not only were the Celtics not the initiators of these talks, they’re nowhere near a framework.
So why the Friday afternoon bombshell from Philly? Either someone in Colangelo’s office went way out of bounds with this leak, or Brian’s trying to turn up the heat on Boston. And if that’s the case, why does he think this is going to work?
I wouldn’t have the slightest idea. The media doesn’t lean on Ainge in Boston, and if he thought popular sentiment would be in favor of this trade, he’s misjudged that as well.
So if this turns out to be a big ‘so what’, you read it here first.
And if it does turn into something, you can bet Colangelo is going to get fleeced. He’s not a smart GM, and the way he played this trade offer demonstrates that.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Blakely: Expect some intriguing offers coming Celtics’ way |BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Should the C’s trade down? | O’Connor: ‘Jayson Tatum is the player I’d trade down for’ | Mannix: ‘If you make this deal, you better not miss’
MassLive: NBA Draft 2017: Dennis Smith Jr. working out for Boston Celtics this weekend, per source | Boston Celtics trade rumors 2017: Danny Ainge, Philadelphia 76ers discussing trade of No. 1 pick, per reports | Markelle Fultz poses for photos with car that once belonged to Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach