Philadelphia and Boston have agreed in principle on a trade where the 76ers would acquire the chance to take Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. Both project as National Basketball Association players, certainly, but it’s probably fair to say that any of the five top point guards in this year’s draft – Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith and Frank Ntilikina – would be the first point guard picked if they came out next year. But, if that Lakers pick doesn’t fall between No. 2 and No. 5 in the 2018 draft, Philly will instead send a 2019 first-round pick from Boston that it acquired from the Sacramento Kings. If that ends up being the top pick or lower than five, the Sixers keep it and the Celtics will receive a 2019 first rounder. In a deal that won’t be final until Monday, the 76ers dove in head first and shook things up by picking up the first pick.
Philadelphia invited presumptive No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz into town for a workout over the weekend.
“We felt like the move from 3 to 1 was worth the cost of a first-round pick in the future”, 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said.
“History suggests that No.1 has the greatest odds of producing franchise-level talent”.
Boston received the 76ers’ third overall pick in the draft plus a future first-round pick from Philadelphia in exchange for making the move.
While Danny Ainge may like some more than others, sources now and over the latter half of the college season say he’s been looking hardest into guards Fultz and Lonzo Ball and forwards Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum. With the addition of Fultz, the 76ers now has a playmaker who can run an offense and should look to make a trade for a better scoring option at SG like Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns. Joel Embiid, who maintains an active presence on social media, tweeted a picture of himself and teammate Dario Saric standing in front of a locker with a Fultz’s name plate.
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Ball averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game while leading UCLA to a 31-5 record this season. After trading for the No. 3 overall pick this year and possibly future first rounders, the Celtics could have enough assets to be able to trade for the All-Star Butler.
“I don’t really pay attention to everything that’s going on”, Fultz said.
Philadelphia went 28-54 this past season, after winning 19, 18 and 10 games in the previous three seasons.