Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Smart #36 and Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics.
The Boston Celtics held exploratory talks that would send Marcus Smart to the Golden State Warriors for the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft recently, league sources told The Action Network Wednesday.
Talks fell through on both sides, sources said, and more discussions are not expected after the Celtics rejected an unknown counteroffer.
Boston began to circulate as a potential trade partner on Tuesday and Wednesday, with The New York Times reporting the Celtics’ interest in a top-ten selection.
The belief among league observers is that the Celtics have targeted Memphis center James Wiseman, looking to upgrade their frontcourt while keeping their core together. The Celtics have also entertained talks for Gordon Hayward in a potential sign-and-trade and Kemba Walker.
None of this is exceptional given that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge haS a long-standing history of making all players available in trade talks in pursuit of upgrades. The Celtics’ request of a No. 2 pick, even in a weak draft, is a sign of how much they value Smart.
League sources were skeptical of not only a deal between Boston and Golden State happening, but of Golden State executing any trade, an idea supported by USA Today’s reporting:
The Warriors are seen as likely to select Wiseman, who is -182 at DraftKings for the No. 2 selection, by far the favorite there and across the betting market.
Smart has been named first-team All-Defense in back-to-back seasons, and has improved dramatically as a shooter to go along with his stellar playmaking instincts. The Celtics have consistently supported and built alongside Smart, and the offer is not considered to be a sign of Boston looking to move on from Smart.
The Celtics suffered in the playoffs due to a lack of viable frontcourt depth in the playoffs. Daniel Theiss played well but struggled with foul trouble and a limited offensive skillset. League sources believe reserve center Enes Kanter is likely to be moved either in free agency or trade if he opts into the final year of his deal.
More Draft-Day League Intel
- The Detroit Pistons are the team most likely to acquire more selections in the draft. The Pistons have made it known they’re willing to take on large contracts in exchange for draft compensation, acting as a clearinghouse for teams pursuing other deals.
- There is some belief that the reported talks between Boston and Atlanta for a Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade could come to include the Cavaliers, who have made their No. 5 pick available and who have Andre Drummond on an expiring contract as well. It was unclear as of this writing what the Cavaliers would receive in such a deal, casting doubt on such a deal reaching consummation.
- The Hawks are aggressively pursuing wing upgrades, according to multiple league sources. Joe Harris and Danilo Gallinari are among the names Atlanta is expected to pursue if the Hayward talks don’t bear fruit.
- The Spurs are mentioned as a team aggressively shopping to move up in the draft, with a growing sense that San Antonio may “blow it up” in terms of their veteran talent. DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Patty Mills have all been included in talks recently, according to league sources. Potential top-10 pick Patrick Williams is said to be a player the Spurs have an interest in, among others.
- The league remains split on who they would take No. 1, with no one having any real indication of what the Timberwolves will do with the top selection. Anthony Edwards moved back to favorite status at the books on Tuesday after LaMelo Ball had surged late last week after a workout with Minnesota.
- Precious Achiuwa is the name that multiple sources indicated could be a sleeper pick for teams, which makes him not so much of a dark horse as a very live candidate to move up. Achiuwa’s over/under draft position is 15.5 with the under at +140 at DraftKings.