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Report: Danny Ainge offered Isaiah Thomas for a lottery pick last year

The Celtics lucked out on that one.

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN writer Jackie MacMullan joined Bob Ryan’s Boston Podcast for today’s episode. The topic at-hand was obviously this Celtics team in the midst of an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. The two, however, had intriguing conversation about one of the most important pieces of this run, Isaiah Thomas, and how he almost wasn’t a part of it. You can find this after the 13-minute mark on the podcast linked above.

Ryan and MacMullan were discussing Thomas’ future place on the roster assuming the Celtics draft Markelle Fultz with the top pick in next month’s draft. Ryan asked if he could “suck it up” and return to the spark plug bench scorer role he assumed earlier in his career. MacMullan responded, “Absolutely no way,” as Ryan then wondered if the Celtics would then have to get rid of Thomas. MacMullan said the following:

I’ll tell you this: before the draft last year, Danny [Ainge] was trying to get two picks, not just Jaylen Brown. He had two people. He was trying to get two picks. He was on the phone with everybody from coast to coast and he was offering everyone, and that includes Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas and anything they needed to get where he wanted to go. There were no untouchables on that team last year. The only untouchable now I’d say is Al Horford.

Ainge clearly dodged a bullet on that one. With the early returns on the 2016 draft being pretty lackluster, sacrificing Thomas’ fantastic season for what now seems like a marginal prospect would’ve been a big mistake. When the offseason comes, I’m sure more rumors about the Celtics and their various picks and players will continue to swirl. This is just the start.

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