Earlier today, it was revealed that the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics were “close to finalizing” a deal that would send the number one pick in the 2017 draft to Philly. As of now, it’s safe to say the deal is all but done.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 18, 2017
The Sixers are set to select Washington star Markelle Fultz with the pick to give them a very talented, young core headlined with Fultz, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid. Philly has long coveted a point guard for the future and they will certainly get that with someone of Fultz’s caliber.
The former Washington Husky is considered the most talented player in this draft class and judging from film and statistics, it’s certainly hard to argue otherwise. Some question his will to win as his Huskies went just 9-22 this past season, but people have to remember that his team wasn’t very talented.
There was speculation that perhaps the Sixers would try and make a run at former Villanova star Kyle Lowry this offseason, but drafting Fultz sort of kicks that idea out the door from the outside looking in. Fultz could play the shooting guard position, but it’s probably in their best interest to keep the cap space to address other needs.
Philly has been struggling for a few seasons, not having made the NBA playoffs since the 2011-12 season. With a healthy Ben Simmons (who missed the entire 2016-17 campaign with a foot injury), Joel Embiid, and the edition of Fultz, the Sixers have an opportunity to end the playoff drought.
Though this trade should be considered a win for the Sixers, it looks like the Celtics may not be done dealing.
The Celtics could also be acquiring more first-round picks to deal for Jimmy Butler, per league source.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 16, 2017
Boston may try going after Chicago Bulls’ All-Star Jimmy Butler, whom the team had been rumored to have interest in going back all the way to the trade deadline. The deal with Philly doesn’t make much sense unless Boston has plans to make such a move. Bet your bottom dollar that Butler ends up a Boston Celtic and Jahlil Okafor plays for his hometown Bulls.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 14, 2017
If the Celtics want to have enough cap space to go after a guy like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin (both have been connected with the team as of late), they’d have to deal away Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. Taking off Amir Johnson’s $12 million dollar contract off the books help a bit but it doesn’t leave enough space for them to sign someone to a max-level contract straight up.
The offseason is already off to a hot start. With the draft and free agency right around the corner, we’ll get a better idea of what teams will look like heading into the 2017-18 campaign. For now, the 76ers and Celtics are trying to get a head start.