The Brooklyn Nets are currently all alone in last place with just 8 wins and 25 losses. The Celtics own the right to swap picks with them. Add that up, and you have a pretty valuable asset. Teams have noticed, and they are poking around to see if they can pry it away from Danny Ainge.
"Yeah there are people calling," Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show. "It's a valuable pick so we're going to explore that."
Of course if they aren’t calling with an offer of a star player, they likely aren’t going to get much traction. League GMs can complain about Ainge “overvaluing his assets” all they want, but Danny should absolutely hang onto that pick (and the 2018 Nets pick) unless the return is significant.
It would be great to get a star right now, as it would push the fast-forward button on the plan to compete for championships. If not, then the Celtics would be better served by waiting for the lottery and perhaps drafting a star at the top of this very strong draft class.
It might not even require winning the lottery. There are a number of guys that could be difference makers at the top of the board.
"Every draft is different," Ainge replied. "I think that sometimes you have the top one is better than other drafts (or) the top two. This one is a little bit more equal in the top few picks of the draft as it appears right now. This is something that we're spending all our time (on). We have people all over the world evaluating this as we speak. So I think that at this point in time, I think that, yeah, there's four or five guys -- there's not a lot of separation at the top of this draft."
It is, however, worth noting that the Sixers are just one game out of last place, and 4 other teams have just 11 wins. One of those teams is the Miami Heat, and things are quickly turning for the worse for them.
Heat forward Justise Winslow is likely to miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, the team announced on Wednesday. Winslow is scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday.
Pat Riley has hinted at a tanking strategy, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the Mavericks follow suit. The Sixers and Suns were bad to begin with and are in no hurry to pile up wins. Only the Wolves appear to be underperforming their talent base thus far. So things could get crowded at the bottom if the Nets find a way to pick up a few wins here or there.