The infamous Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett trade with the Brooklyn Nets is the gift that keeps on giving for the Boston Celtics.
On Tuesday, the Celtics got the No. 1 pick in the draft at the draft lottery, via a pick swap with the Brooklyn Nets.
As a result, the Celtics, the first seed in the East currently playing in the Conference Finals, will have their choice of any player in what’s considered the best draft class in years.
The whole situation stems from a 2013 trade in which the Celtics sent Pierce, Garnett, and Jason Terry to Brooklyn as the Nets tried to build a star-packed team to rival the Miami Heat. In exchange, along with some role players, the Celtics received the Nets’ 2014, 2016, and 2018 first-round picks, with the right to swap picks in 2017.
That right to swap picks is just the latest reward for the Celtics.
As mentioned, the Celtics can add any player they want — Washington guard Markelle Fultz seems to be the consensus best player in the draft.
However, the Celtics could also revisit trade talks with teams like the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers for stars Jimmy Butler or Paul George and dangle that No. 1 pick. The Celtics reportedly offered it and were in trade discussions with both teams at the trade deadline in February, but no deal ever materialised. If the Bulls or Pacers change their minds about the directions of their franchises, they could come calling for that No. 1 pick, plus a player or two as filler.
Of course, the Celtics don’t have to oblige. They have cap space this offseason and could add a max player at no cost. If the Celtics feel they have a shot at the likes of Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin, for example, they could simply draft No. 1 and then take a swing at a star in free agency without giving anything up.
There may not be a team in a more enviable position than the Celtics in the league, and it’s all thanks to some wise vision from President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge.
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