Celtics

Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

BOSTON – There was no late-night workout in New York City between the Boston Celtics and Josh Jackson.

There was no conversation between Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations and the Kansas University star, either.

And that made the decision by Boston to select Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick a lot easier than some might have thought.

Following Thursday night’s NBA draft, Ainge spoke to the media on several topics which included him explaining the interaction – or lack thereof – between the Celtics organization and Jackson who was selected with the No. 4 pick by the Phoenix Suns.

When asked about his level of communication with Jackson, Ainge said, “never talked to Josh. No one in our organization did. I know someone wrote something that was different.”

That’s because in New York City on Wednesday, Jackson told a group of reporters that he had spoken with head coach Brad Stevens and other assistant coaches, but had not had a chance to talk with Ainge.

Despite the lack of communication with the Celtics, Jackson said he was still open to playing for Boston.

“It would be great to play in Boston,” Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. “I see a lot of their players on their team are about the same things I’m about. Anybody who knows me, knows I love to win. I see that in a lot of the guys on their team. I would love to play in Boston.”

Those were his words.

But his actions told an entirely different story.

Jackson said he didn’t work out for Boston because he and his agent didn’t think the Celtics were interested in him when they had the number one overall pick.

Once Boston traded the No. 1 overall pick for Philadelphia’s pick (No. 3) and a future first-round pick, Jackson said there was more interest on Boston’s part but there was not enough time to schedule a workout.

Boston's attempt at working out Jackson went horribly wrong. 

“They canceled a workout on us,” Ainge said. “When we flew out to Sacramento, they decided to cancel it; as we flew, Brad and I and (assistant GM and team counsel) Mike Zarren flew cross country.”

Although it was never said explicitly, Ainge had a feel for what was happening.

"There was something that he didn’t want to play for the Celtics,” Ainge said.

Ainge, who played for the Sacramento Kings (1989-1990), acknowledged he wasn’t thrilled to make the long trip and not get to see Jackson workout.

“I was mad,” Ainge said. “Flew cross-country. . . there’s nothing to do in Sacramento.”

Despite not having had a chance to speak with Jackson or getting to work him out, Ainge said the Celtics still had not ruled out drafting him.

“In spite of that, we watched Josh for two years and we were fans,” Ainge said. “He’s a terrific kid and a good player.”

NBA Rumors: Celtics to host two defensive studs for pre-draft workouts

NBA Rumors: Celtics to host two defensive studs for pre-draft workouts

If Brandon Clarke is on the board at pick No. 14 or later in the 2019 NBA Draft, it sounds like the Boston Celtics might be interested.

The Celtics are one of four teams set to host the Gonzaga product for a pre-draft workout, the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reported Sunday.

Boston also will bring in Penn State guard Josh Reaves for a workout, Bryan Kalbrosky of USA TODAY's Celtics Wire reported Sunday.

Clarke was a highly productive two-way forward for the Zags last season, averaging 16.9 points per game while leading the NCAA's Division I in blocks (117 in 37 games) to win West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

He's projected as a first-round pick and has been tied to the Celtics -- who own the 14th, 20th and 22nd picks -- in several mock drafts, including the latest from NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely.

Reaves also is a defensive standout who won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors this past season after averaging 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game for the Nittany Lions. The 21-year-old is expected to go in the second round, where Boston has No. 51 pick.

Defense clearly is a priority for head coach Brad Stevens' club, which has drafted athletic stoppers like Robert Williams, Semi Ojeleye and Jaylen Brown in recent years. With three selections in the first round, Boston has the capital to target another defensive-minded player with one those picks.

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Magic Johnson says he'd target Kyrie Irving for Lakers in free agency

Magic Johnson says he'd target Kyrie Irving for Lakers in free agency

Magic Johnson is free to "tamper" all he wants now that he's out as Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations.

He jumped at that opportunity Monday.

Johnson joined ESPN's "First Take" for a newsworthy interview in which he accused Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka of back-stabbing. But here's the part that will interest Celtics fans: When asked which free agent he'd target this summer if he was still with Los Angeles, Johnson named two players: Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.

"I would say Kawhi and Kyrie are the two guys," Johnson said. "One of those two."

That Johnson has Leonard and Irving atop a free-agent list that includes Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins and other All-Stars is telling, considering Magic was directly involved in the Lakers' affairs just over a month ago and likely has good insight into which players are on LeBron James' wish list.

There also are reports that Irving has considered reuniting with James in L.A., although Stephen A. Smith reported last week a source close to Irving said there's "no way in hell" the Celtics guard signs with the Lakers.

That probably won't stop L.A. from pursuing Irving, though. While pushing back on the rumors of Leonard seeming like a lock to join the Clippers, Johnson added:

"Once you get into that room and you've got LeBron sitting there, everything changes."

Would LeBron and the Lakers be able to lure Irving from Boston or another suitor like the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets? If Magic was still in charge, it sounds like they'd make a strong push.

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