The worst-kept secret is the Sixers will use the pick on Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.
PHILADELPHIA — Some have argued the 76ers surrendered too much to the Boston Celtics just to move up two spots in Thursday’s NBA draft.
However, 76ers president Bryan Colangelo is unapologetic about being in position to draft the player he covets.
Colangelo orchestrated a blockbuster trade that became finalized Monday. He would not reveal the targeted player, but the worst-kept secret is the Sixers will use the pick on Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.
The Celtics sent that pick to the Sixers for the No. 3 pick and the protected Los Angeles Lakers first-rounder in 2018, which the Sixers owned. The Celtics will get the pick if it falls in slots 2-5 in next summer’s NBA draft lottery. If it does not, Boston will receive either the Sacramento Kings’ or Sixers’ first-round pick in 2019. The Celtics would take whichever one is more favorable. But if either of those picks become the first overall, the Celtics will receive the other pick.
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“We are not pledging anything that mortgages our future,” said Colangelo, whose team also has its own pick in 2018. “We are using house money here. But to have two quality (first-round picks) in ’18 and two quality firsts in ’19, there are only so many picks that can be made with the roster spots that you have.”
Fultz worked out for the Sixers on Saturday night and posted on his Instagram page a Philly.com photo of him walking into the Sixers practice facility wearing a team cap.
Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, said the deal came at no cost to Boston whatsoever.
“We’re getting the player we want. They’re getting the player they want,” he said. “And we’re getting an additional player that we want in next year’s draft or the year after. It’s a good deal for both teams.”
The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to take UCLA guard Lonzo Ball with the second pick.
And then come the Celtics, starting the real intrigue. If Ainge is to be believed, even they don’t know who they will take at No. 3 — but he insisted that whichever choice they make there would have been the choice they made at No. 1 if this deal hadn’t gone down. The Celtics had Duke’s Jayson Tatum in for a workout Monday and hope to have Kansas’ Josh Jackson in on Tuesday.
Durant opts out
Kevin Durant is reportedly declining his player option for the 2017-18 season with the intention of re-signing with the Warriors. Durant opted out of about $28 million to become a free agent briefly in an effort to help Golden State re-sign sixth-man extraordinaire Andre Iguodala.
Cavs GM gone
David Griffin’s run with the Cleveland Cavaliers is over after one championship and three straight trips to the NBA Finals. The general manager and team mutually parted ways Monday when owner Dan Gilbert said Griffin’s contract will not be extended once it expires June 30.
• The Cavaliers are among those discussing a possible trade with the Indiana Pacers for four-time All-Star Paul George after George told the Pacers of his intention to leave after next season, multiple media outlets reported. George would be a “one-year rental,” with George ready to hit free agency after the 2017-18 season. A native of Palmdale, Calif., George is interested in eventually joining the Los Angeles Lakers. The Cavaliers are also talking to the Chicago Bulls about Jimmy Butler.
• Hall of Famer Jerry West, fresh off helping the Golden State Warriors win another NBA championship, is now officially a consultant with the Los Angeles Clippers and owner Steve Ballmer.