2017 NBA Draft: 'Celtics, Sixers are swapping picks,' claims new report

By @saihoops on
Boston Celtics, 2017 NBA Draft, Josh Jackson
Mar 19, 2017; Tulsa, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Josh Jackson (11) reacts after the game against the Michigan State Spartans in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at BOK Center. Kansas defeated Michigan State 90-70. USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are engaged in advanced talks to swap their first-round picks ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft, according to several reports. While the Celtics own the No. 1 overall pick, the Sixers will select No. 3 in what is being touted by several scouts as the best draft class since 2003.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the Celtics brass is leaning towards Kansas wing Josh Jackson instead of selecting a point guard such as Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. Since Jackson would most likely be available at No. 3 (presuming the Lakers draft Lonzo Ball), the trade makes a ton of sense for both parties involved.

Fultz had his flight re-routed from Boston to Philadelphia Friday, fuelling speculation that the Washington freshman is going to join forces with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons & Co. in a 76ers uniform. Fultz was scheduled to meet Celtics management for a final pre-draft interview.

According to ESPN, the Celtics would receive a package of the No. 3 pick and other draft picks in exchange for the highly-coveted No. 1 overall pick. Boston last traded the No. 1 overall pick in 1980 to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Robert Parish and No. 3 overall pick Kevin McHale. The Warriors selected Joe Barry Carroll, who turned into a solid NBA pro, but the Celtics won that trade by acquiring two eventual Hall of Famers.

Sixers likely to select No. 1 overall -- 'They are swapping picks' 

"League sources said the Sixers and Celtics are working on a trade that, in its current iteration, would send a package of Sixers draft picks to Boston -- including Philadelphia's No. 3 overall selection in Thursday's draft -- in exchange for Boston's turn at No. 1," read a report by Marc Stein late on Friday.

A league source told ESPN with convinction: "They are swapping 1 and 3."

According to ESPN's Chad Ford, Jackson fits the prototypical Celtics mould as a blue-collared player who leaves everything out on the court with elite hustle, motor and toughness. In recent years, the Celtics drafted the likes of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown who all fit the said description.

Celtics general manger Danny Ainge will have his work cut out over the next week. "I've picked Danny's brain for years. Jackson is an Ainge player all the way. Tough, athletic, long, versatile, elite motor. If he's keeping the pick, Jackson just to me, far and away, is the most Celtics-type player for them to draft. From all my conversations with them, I'm convinced they'll take Jackson No. 1," an unnamed GM told Ford.

The 2017 NBA Draft will be held on June 22, 2017, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Celtics will also select No. 37, No. 53 and No. 56 in the second-round besides picking No. 1 overall in the first.