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NBA Draft Rumors: Celtics GM Danny Ainge believes they can get ‘target player’ at No. 3

NBA Draft Rumors, Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics
PHOTOGRAPH: @josh_j11/Instagram |

The Boston Celtics officially agreed to trade the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 pick and a future first-round pick. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has no regrets with the deal, believing their target player will still be available at No. 3.

“I think even before the lottery, we’ve been evaluating these kids for a couple years, and we felt like it was very close with the top handful of players and we still feel that way,” Ainge said, per ESPN. “We think there’s a really good chance the player we’ll take at [No.] 3 is the same player we would have taken at [No.] 1. So this was a great opportunity to acquire an impactful asset.”

NBA Draft Rumors: Josh Jackson to Boston Celtics

With Ainge’s statements, it appears that the Celtics aren’t locked on Markelle Fultz even before trading the No. 1 pick to the Sixers. Fultz may be a gifted scorer but he’s a player with a mediocre defensive upside. Coach Brad Stevens is surely concerned with the idea of pairing him with another defensive liability, Isaiah Thomas.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports created his own NBA mock draft where the Celtics pick Josh Jackson at No. 3. The Celtics reportedly see Jackson as the best prospect in the upcoming draft. Jackson is known for his defense and he’s a two-way player.

Trading the No. 1 pick while getting their target player and a future first-rounder is undeniably a wise move for Celtics general manager Danny Ainge. However, the Celtics aren’t the only team who’s interested in Jackson. The Los Angeles Lakers, who owned the No. 2 pick, are also keeping an eye on the 20-year-old forward. The Phoenix Suns also plan to trade for a higher pick to add Jackson to their team.

Danny Ainge not worried about making the Sixers better

With the nearing acquisition of Markelle Fultz, it will not be a surprise if the Sixers become a legitimate playoff contender next season. As of now, the Sixers have one of the most promising frontcourts in the league with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric. Having a talented backcourt player like Fultz will help the Sixers beat any teams in the Eastern Conference, even the Boston Celtics.

However, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge isn’t worried at all and said that both teams benefit with the deal. Ainge revealed that the Boston’s front-office was unanimous with the decision to move down.

“We feel like it’s a jump-start for us,” Ainge said. “We’re getting the player we want. They’re getting the player they want. And we’ll get an additional player that we want in next year’s draft, or the year after. So I think it’s a good deal for both teams.”

ALSO READ: NBA Rumors: Markelle Fultz forming Philly’s ‘Big 3’ with Simmons, Embiid; Celtics create tough rival in the East

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