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NBA Draft: Monday Notes

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Weekend happenings.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

A few thoughts on the Celtics-Sixers swap.

Top pick for third pick, and a 2018 pick via the Lakers (only if it lands between 2 and 5) or the Kings 2019 first rounder if the Lakers pick does not convey.

At first we heard it was both of the above picks in addition to the third overall this year, and I thought it was a good trade for the Celtics. However, given that it’s only one of those two picks, I’m a lot more comfortable with the Sixers side of this.

Ultimately this comes down to how you evaluate the top players in this draft. If you think Markelle Fultz is clearly the best guy, you don’t give him up. Clearly the Celtics think there’s a player they can draft at three that they are just as confident in as Fultz, at which point grabbing another quality draft choice for the future is a smart play.

I’m no expert, but I would not have done this. I think Fultz has the best shot at real stardom, and so no. We’ll see how it works out.

The Sixers get what they desperately need—a do everything (in theory) guard. It’s hard to know what they will be able to achieve with this group, given two of the central pieces have yet to play in the NBA and the third managed only 31 games after missing his first two seasons entirely. Frankly, it’s hard to count on Embiid holding up, but if he can stay on the court with Fultz and Simmons, it could be extremely fun and possibly extremely successful.

It’s hard to know what the Celtics are planning, they always have a lot of irons in the fire. Are they looking to package some of their future picks to trade for a star? Presumably that would be Jimmy Butler, though who knows? There has been a lot of talk about going after Gordon Hayward in free agency as well. Those might be mutually exclusive unless they can move a bunch of salary.

Meanwhile, it sounds like the Celtics will use the third pick on either Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum, both forwards. Jackson impresses with his defensive potential, some playmaking from the small forward spot, and his athleticism, while Tatum is younger and the more gifted scorer. If they take Jackson, it gives them three somewhat similar small forwards along with Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder. Tatum diversifies the roster a bit by giving them a wing player (and possible combo forward) who can create offense for himself.

From a Wolves perspective, probably not a ton of impact here. If the Celtics do take Tatum, it will be a little disappointing as he was one of the players who could possibly have fell to them who seems like a great value at the seventh spot.

Where it gets a little interesting is if the Lakers take Jackson second, and the Celtics take Tatum. All of a sudden Lonzo Ball falls into the Suns lap at four, and that was one of the teams I thought would likely be targeting Jonathan Isaac. Hard to see them pass up Ball if he’s there though. The Kings get their guy (Fox,) and Orlando is left with probably a choice between Isaac and Dennis Smith Jr. Or possibly Malik Monk.

Anyway, we’ll see where things go soon enough.

Meanwhile, Paul George has informed the Pacers that he has no intention of re-signing with them when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2018, and wants to join the Lakers. While it’s probably helpful for the Pacers to know what he’s planning, it puts them in a tough spot right now. Rumor has it they are talking to teams about a George trade, but of course everyone is approaching it as if he’ll simply be a rental, which obviously vastly decreases his value.

It’s unclear who might be interested, though apparently the Cavs have inquired. It’s a tough spot. Do you even want to bring in a prime guy who will force you to adjust how you play just for a year? The Cavs could probably absorb it, but not many teams could.

And since we can’t go long without, a little Ricky Rubio related rumor for you this morning. A report has it that the Mavericks are considering making an offer for Rubio. This is not shocking, they’ve been on the list of teams thought to be interested for a while, and there is no indication that they have made an offer recently, but there you have it. Apparently he’s still on their radar.

What up?