It takes at least two teams to get a deal done, which may be the only factor keeping the Celtics from moving up in the June 25 NBA draft.
The Celtics have the 16th overall pick but has made it known to fellow executives that they would like to get into the lottery area (top 14).
Still, there are challenges on multiple fronts in making that happen.
The Celtics have to lock in on a particular player who they want to draft, and get as good a feel as they can as to where that player will be selected, so they know which teams to target as potential trade partners.
Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, confirmed to CSNNE.com that the Celtics have some interest in moving up in the draft but added that there’s no one specific player they're looking to draft.
“There are some guys I’d like to acquire, sure,” Ainge said.
If the Celtics get to a point where they lock in on one specific player and have an idea as to where he should fall, then comes the challenge of convincing the team pegged to draft at that spot to make a deal.
“That’s where it gets really, really tough,” said one league executive. “Lottery picks are like lottery tickets. You don’t just give those away, to give away. Danny’s a smart guy. He knows this. But he also has a lot of assets to help his chances. But how far up does he want to go? And how much will that cost? Is the player worth it at that point? Those are the kind of questions, the kind of issues Danny and his staff have to hammer out.”
As the Celtics’ director of player personnel, Austin Ainge spends a decent amount of his time dealing with agents as well as fellow team executives.
“It’s hard to move up or ask a team to move down until they know who they like,” Ainge said.
So, the Celtics will continue to bring in players slotted in the range of their fourth picks – 16th, 28th, 33rd and 45th overall – and hope to convince a few players expected to go higher than that to come in for workouts.
While having so many picks has helped Boston’s cause in arranging workouts, convincing agents of players expected to be in the lottery to have their clients workout for the Celtics is not going to be easy.
“When I call an agent and say we’d like to have your guy in and he says, ‘you’re not in our range’ and I say, ‘well we’ll move up...We all tell them we’ll move up,” quipped Austin Ainge. “They’ve heard that line before. But I do think there’s some more credibility with us having four picks.”
Some of the players projected as lottery picks that the Celtics have expressed interest in drafting are Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, Arizona forward Stanley Johnson, Kansas forward Kelly Oubre, Texas forward/center Myles Turner and one of the fastest risers in the draft, Kentucky shooting guard Devin Booker.