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.”