Trade Talks Between Celtics-Sixers Reportedly Heating Up
BOSTON (CBS) -- There have been plenty of trade rumors surrounding the Boston Celtics and the third overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, but a rumored deal with the Philadelphia 76ers seems like it's picking up steam.
According to Tim Welsh of CSNNE, Philadelphia is making a big push to acquire the third pick from Boston, which they'll use to draft Providence guard Kris Dunn.
"Philly has told Kris Dunn's camp and his agent they are trying to push the buttons to have this happen before the draft," Welsh said Monday night. "They've been in Providence locked in to the city talking to everyone that's ever encountered Kris Dunn. They are putting the full court press on the Celtics to acquire the third pick. It could go down in the next two days, so we'll see. Boston has the upper hand in knowing what Philly wants."
In return, the Celtics are discussing Philly big men Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, with Welsh noting their preference is Noel.
Either big would make sense for the C's, who have a plethora of guards but are lacking in the front court. It's no surprise they prefer Noel, who has a high ceiling on the defensive end of the floor. The Malden native has battled injuries since being drafted sixth overall in 2013, playing in 142 games in his two NBA seasons, averaging 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Noel will be a restricted free agent next summer and extending him could become a pricey venture for Danny Ainge and company.
Okafor, meanwhile, is an impressive low post scorer, something Boston is severely lacking. He averaged 17.5 points per game as a rookie last season after being selected No. 3 overall out of Duke, but doesn't always seem invested on the defensive end of the floor and carries questions about his character away from the court. Okafor was suspended for two games by Philadelphia last season after video surfaced of him getting into a fight on the streets of Boston following a 76ers loss.
But Okafor is just 20 years old, with plenty of room for growth and maturity, and has two more years on his contract than Noel.
It appears Philadelphia, who will likely draft forward Ben Simmons with the first overall selection, wants to address their needs at the guard position and will be aggressive to accomplish that. We'll see if the Celtics, who own two additional first-round picks (No. 16 and No. 23), can take advantage of the situation and pluck a promising young big from the Philly roster.
Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer Talks NBA Trades On Toucher & Rich:
for more features.