4 Possible Reasons why Celtics Traded No. 1 Pick to Philly

celtics-aingeThe 2017 NBA Draft is still a few days away. But we’ve already seen one bombshell move go down: the Boston Celtics trading the No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers.

It’s been speculated that Boston would shop their pick since they have the capability to win now. And this trade, which nets the Celtics the No. 3 overall pick along with the Lakers’ 2018 first-round pick, proves the rumors true.

While Boston added more high picks to their arsenal, they could’ve also held pat and drafted Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, who’s good enough to be the consensus top selection.

Now, the question is why Boston decided to pass on this opportunity to move down in the draft and pick up another (potentially) high selection next year. Let’s look at four reasons why below.

No. 1: To Draft Josh Jackson

josh-jackson-kansasKansas wing Josh Jackson has been linked to everybody from the Celtics at No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns at No. 4. CBS Sports claims that Josh Jackson is GM Danny Ainge’s guy, thanks to his length and defensive ability. And it’s very possible that the Celtics traded down because they think Jackson will be available at the third spot.

Assuming this is true and they get Jackson, Boston pulled off a great move. Instead of just taking him with the top pick, they grab an additional asset – something that many teams would’ve given the Celtics to draft Fultz.

The downside to this move is that L.A. could still take Jackson at No. 2. In this event, Boston would be in a bind, deciding whether to take point guards Lonzo Ball or De’Aaron Fox, or go with Duke forward Jayson Tatum. One more option includes trading down again, although Ainge enters unfamiliar territory the further he goes down in the draft.

No. 2: To Trade for a Superstar (i.e. Jimmy Butler or Paul George)

jimmy-butler-celticsThe Celtics have long been linked to Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. They’re also interested in Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, another player that could help them compete with the Cavaliers.

By picking up LA’s 2018 selection to go along with this year’s No. 3 pick, they have more assets to trade. Packaged with Brooklyn’s 2018 pick, this presents an awfully enticing treasure trove for interested teams. And let’s not forget that Boston has a first-round pick coming from Memphis in the future.

Ainge has done an excellent job of grabbing assets. But when does it come time to finally cash in on them and become an elite contender?

That time will be now if he trades draft picks for a superstar. Both Chicago and Indiana would be surrendering their chances of winning by trading their top players. And they’ll want high draft picks in return. Boston has this – the question is whom they want to make the move for.

Odds are that they’ll go for Butler first because he’s under contract for a few more seasons. George, on the other hand, is a free agent next season and has eyes on the Lakers in 2018.

By giving up Fultz now, Ainge also gives up the chance to add another superstar to the core. It only makes sense if he’s figuring out how to turn these picks into another All-Star.

No. 3: Because Celtics Only Need Isaiah Thomas at Point

markelle-fultz-phillyOne of the biggest discussions leading up to the 2017 Draft is if Fultz and Celtics star Isaiah Thomas could share the court. After all, both are point guards by nature, and it’s likely that they’d play a lot together.

Another floated theory was that Boston would use Fultz at point if they decided not to give Thomas a max contract next offseason.

We don’t have to worry about these scenarios now, though, because there’s no way that Fultz will slide to No. 3. Going further, it seems more and more likely that Ainge is prepared to pay Thomas whatever he asks for.

isaiah-thomas-celticsThis seems like a good move too because the 5’9″ guard has proven himself again and again. He not only led the Celtics to an East-leading 53 wins last season, but also averaged 28.9 PPG and 5.9 APG. Earning the nickname “King of the Fourth,” Thomas has proven that he can deliver in the clutch.

Boston could be one established player away from becoming a bonafide contender – something they don’t look to be now after being beaten by Cleveland 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Fultz wouldn’t be the player they needed for another 2-3 seasons….and that’s before we get into him playing the same position as their top scorer.

No. 4: To Wait Until the Cavs are Done Dominating the East

iguodala-lebron-jamesCleveland proved little match for Golden State in the NBA Finals. But they also proved to be heads above the East, ripping through the first three rounds with a 12-1 record.

By trading down, Boston could be waiting out King James’ reign in Cleveland. This allows them to take a really good prospect in 2017, another one in 2018 (in addition to Brooklyn’s pick), and/or use the Kings’ 2019 selection to add more talent.

To clarify, Boston gets the Lakers’ 2018 pick if it’s between No. 2-5. If not, Philadelphia keeps the selection, and the Celtics acquire Sacramento’s 2019 unprotected pick instead.

Either way, Boston is in an enviable position where they can stay competitive now while continuing to add young players who’ll help in the future. By the time the draft picks mature in the early-to-mid 2020s, Boston is set to take over the East because LeBron will be in his late 30s.

What’s more is that the Warriors might finally lose their grip on the league by then. As it looks now, Golden State is poised to win 4 titles over the next 5 seasons – as Klay Thompson’s dad, Mychal, declared. And this isn’t just some LaVar Ball-sized prediction – it actually looks to be accurate right now.

Why should the Celtics work so hard to become a contender now if this is the case?

Danny Ainge has proven to be an unpredictably good GM so far. And we may have no idea what he’ll truly do with his draft pick(s) until June 22.

Mayweather vs McGregor Odds: Mayweather Favored Heavily

After months of negotiations – including times when it felt like a fight would never happen – UFC champion Conor McGregor and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather will meet in a boxing match.

The fight is set for August 26 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. Both McGregor and Mayweather have confirmed the bout via social media.

UFC president Dana White, who has a contract with McGregor, says that the match will happen at 154 pounds, and last for 12 rounds. The Nevada Athletic Commission put their approval on the event, although the Mayweather camp is pushing for a venue change to MGM Grand.

Regardless, the fight is set for Aug. 26 and will be distributed via Showtime pay-per-view.

What can we expect when McGregor and Mayweather meet in the ring? Find out as we discuss the odds, fighters, and an interesting weigh-in from one of McGregor’s sparring partners.

Mayweather Favored by a Wide Margin

Floyd Mayweather is 49-0 in his professional boxing career, so it’s little surprise that he’s up big on our GTBets.eu line. Here’s a look at how we have the fight right now:

Conor McGregor +500
Floyd Mayweather -700

Mayweather retired last year after racking up 49 wins from 1996 to 2015. He’s easily boxing’s biggest pay-per-view draw, earning $100 million from a 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao.

Given that he was unlikely to ever get a check this big again, and there were no serious rivals left, “Money” retired after a Sept. 2015 victory over Andre Berto.

Despite retiring, Mayweather will step back into the ring as the best fighter of his generation, and one of the greatest of all-time. If he beats McGregor, as expected, it would run his record to a perfect 50-0.

As for McGregor, he’s an elite MMA fighter who’s known for his knockout power. Case in point, he won the UFC featherweight title through a 13-second knockout against Jose Aldo on Dec. 12, 2015.

The Irishman then went on to split non-title welterweight fights against Nate Diaz before knocking out Eddie Alvarez in Nov. 12, 2016 to win the lightweight belt. This makes McGregor the first-ever fighter to hold two UFC belts at the same time.

Despite McGregor’s MMA pedigree, he’s being given little chance due to the fact that this is his first professional boxing match.

McGregor-Mayweather Deal Finally Gets Done

mayweather-mcgregor-odds-boxingAs mentioned in the introduction, this fight has been going back and forth since last year. The two tweeted many times about a possible match, although some were skeptical that it would happen.

But White added fuel to the speculation when he appeared on Conan O’Brien and spoke about how he thought the fight would happen due to the massive amount of money involved.

“Is this thing possible? Yeah, I think it’s possible. Do I think it can happen? I do, because there’s so much involved. But it’s a long, long way away from happening,” said White.

White had been in prolonged discussions with Al Haymon, Mayweather’s adviser, since 2017 kicked off. Haymond had to go through White because of McGregor’s UFC contract.

By May 18, White announced that he and McGregor had come to a financial agreement. This meant that a financial split with Mayweather was the final hurdle. And with Money matching his biggest payday ever, both sides are satisfied.

McGregor’s Sparring Partner Releases Telling Video

While both sides were unsure about how likely this fight was to happen, McGregor began training as if it were a reality. And he sparred against former IBF International Welterweight title holder Chris van Heerden as part of his training.

McGregor’s camp released a video that showed the UFC champ holding his own against van Heerden. However, the South African boxer released his own version that reveals him to be dominating the unpaid sparring session (see below).

Van Heerden, who’s 25-2-1 as a professional fighter, explained that he released his own version to show respect for the sport of boxing.

“Because people are tweeting and talking and telling me that Mayweather has his hands full landing on Conor McGregor,” said Van Heerden. “I’m a professional fighter, boxer. And I’m standing up for the sport. I was just making it very clear that, don’t be ridiculous. If I could land, don’t tell me Floyd Mayweather is not gonna land.”

When asked if he thought that boxing was being disrespected, van Heerden said no. However, he wanted to make clear that McGregor won’t just walk into the ring and match up with the sport’s top fighter.

“This is just a platform to prove that in boxing,” he said, “a mixed martial artist taking on a boxer in the world of a boxer, you’re not gonna beat a boxer in boxing taking him on if you come from mixed martial arts.”

Van Heerden Gives McGregor a Puncher’s Chance

Knockouts can happen in any fight, and van Heerden gives McGregor some small chance thanks to his power.

“It would be ridiculous for me to say he has no opportunity, he has no chance,” Van Heerden explained. “Yes, he has a slight chance of pulling it off. He’s a fighter, he’s a mixed martial artist. He can land one big punch. It can happen. This is fighting, it’s two men in the ring. The opportunity is there. He doesn’t have a zero chance of beating or causing the biggest upset in the sport. Yes, he has. In my opinion and I’m gonna stick by it and I’m not afraid to say it, there’s no way he’s beating Mayweather.

“I have nothing but respect for McGregor. There’s no bad blood. I think [he’s] phenomenal. And being a southpaw, it’s gonna work in his favor. He’s got the power to do it. I wasn’t fazed by his power, I wasn’t hurt. But again, we didn’t have 10-ounce gloves on and he’s got some small chance of causing an upset.”

One key point here is that van Heerden and McGregor sparred last year, so the latter has improved somewhat. But on the other hand, he’ll be facing an even greater champion in Mayweather, which makes it questionable how well McGregor will fare.

We shall find out on August 26.