Reports broke late Friday that the Philadelphia 76ers were in advanced talks with the Boston Celtics regarding a trade which, would revolve around the First Overall selection in the upcoming NBA Draft. Adrian Wojnarowski, of The Vertical, stated:”In the proposed deal, Boston would acquire Philadelphia’s No. 3 overall pick in 2017 in a package that includes a future first from the 76ers, sources said. Philadelphia’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick that was acquired from the Lakers has been part of the discussions, sources said.” Soon after, it was reported that projected First overall pick, Markelle Fultz could make a visit to the “City of Brotherly Love” as early as Saturday.
In the initial rumor, it was reported that Celtics General Manager, Danny Ainge, was trying to stockpile picks in an effort to make a run at acquiring Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls. Butler is a player the Celtics have been heavily linked since before and after the recent trade-deadline. Then the rumor got even bigger. A separate report stated that the 76ers, Celtics and, Bulls could be in the process of working out a three-team deal involving Butler and, 76ers big man, Jahlil Okafor.
Rumors of this stature can be tough to process which, is why we are going to break this one down. There are two scenarios in which this could play out. The first being a deal between Boston and Philadelphia and then a separate trade between Boston and Chicago. The second scenario, of course, is the three team deal. Let us start with scenario one.
Boston Celtics receive 76ers 2017 and 2018 first-round picks. *(Boston may also try to land the Lakers 2019 unprotected first that the 76ers are in possession of)*
76ers receive: Celtics 2017 first-round pick (via Brooklyn)
In this scenario, Danny Ainge flips 2017’s First overall selection in return for a handful of future first rounders. However, if Ainge is then going to make a separate deal he would then flip the two firsts he acquired from the 76ers to Chicago for Jimmy Butler. The only concerns around this scenario is that the Bulls were hesitant to go into full rebuild mode before the deadline and if they retain any salary on Butler’s contract. With the salary cap projected to rise to $101 million in the 2017-2018 season, the Celtics would have no trouble adding Butlers $1,150,000 million contract to their $71,940,058 million payroll for the 2017-18 season.
Scenario two is a lot more complex. The three team trade could look like this:
Boston Celtics receive: Jimmy Butler
Philadelphia 76ers receive: Celtics 2017 first-round pick (via Brooklyn) + 2018 first-round pick (via Chicago)**
Chicago Bulls receive: 2017 first 2018 first-round pick’s (via Philadelphia) + Jahlil Okafor
The three team scenario is a lot more complex to breakdown so, let’s start with the 76ers. It seems highly unlikely that the 76ers would trade away Jahlil Okafor to Chicago essentially for nothing which, is why they get Chicago’s 2018 first back. Philadelphia still has the Lakers 2018 pick however, Okafor is a first-round pick caliber player. **Another option in this deal is for the 76ers to receive to future second-round picks from Chicago or a 2019 first-round pick**.
Boston’s endgame does not change here at all. The Celtics still get Jimmy Butler but instead of making a separate deal, both of Philadelphia's first-round picks that were acquired by Boston in scenario one, go straight to Chicago. Acquiring Butler instantly makes the Celtics a legitimate Eastern Conference powerhouse. However, after acquiring Butler, signing Gordon Hayward may not be possible for the Celtics.
Chicago likely receives the best return. Although it is unclear whether or not the Bulls are ready to go into a rebuilding mode, getting the Third Overall Pick in this year's draft and, another future first-round pick is huge. Also, the addition of Jahlil Okafor is a big get for Chicago. Okafor is young and, is full of potential. He may be a defensive liability at times but, his footwork in the paint, scoring touch and, rebounding ability are all extremely desirable. Whether Chicago gives up 2018, 2019 or, a pair of future second-round picks, receiving a Philadelphia 2018 first is well worth the cost.
That was our breakdown of this scenario, let us know what you think. The NBA Draft is set for Thursday June 22nd, at 6:00 PM EST. This rumor could go nowhere or, it could reshape the entire course of the 2017 NBA Draft and, league future. Stay tuned.