BOSTON – The Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers remain engaged in trade talks, but the trade becoming official doesn’t appear to be imminent.
In fact, the trade likely won't be announced - and that's assuming both sides can agree on its parameters - which is still very much a work in progress - until draft night Thursday.
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And the reason?
The Los Angeles Lakers.
A league source told CSNNE.com on Saturday that the Lakers, who own the No. 2 pick, could throw a major monkey wrench into the plans of both Boston and Philadelphia by selecting Josh Jackson.
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick and is willing to deal it to the Sixers, who would select Markelle Fultz. The 19-year-old point guard from the University of Washington is working out for the Sixers later today.
Philadelphia would surrender the No. 3 pick, among other assets, to Boston, which then use it to select Jackson, a 6-foot-8 wing from Kansas.
While the Lakers have been linked with UCLA’s Lonzo Ball as the player likely to be taken with the No. 2 pick, the Lakers’ new regime of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka has shown a high level of interest in Jackson even after his workout for them reportedly didn’t go well.
Indeed, we have a cat-and-mouse game among the top three teams in the draft, one that’s filled with each team searching to find the best path to one-up the others and, more important, help their respective franchises.
It’s also possible that the Celtics could use the No. 1 pick to draft Fultz and trade him later in the summer, similar to what Cleveland did in 2014 when they sent a pair of No. 1 overall picks, Anthony Bennett (No. 1 overall in 2013) and Andrew Wiggins (2014 No. 1) to Minnesota for a package centered around Kevin Love in August of 2014 – almost two months after Wiggins was selected with the top overall pick.
The Celtics were among the teams at the time trying to swing a deal with the Timberwolves for Love.