At the end of the trade call with the 76ers, perhaps Danny Ainge whispered “Boonk gang” before hanging up.
That’s because, at least in Jayson Tatum’s eyes, Ainge pulled a fast one on the 76ers. Ainge has intimated that Tatum was their top-rated player in the draft -- he said after trading the pick to Philly that the player they’d have taken first overall would be at No. 3 -- but Tatum said this week that the 76ers might not have needed to move up to get Markelle Fultz.
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Appearing on the “WTF in the Attic” podcast with DJ Cuddy Montana, Tatum essentially said that the Celtics were going to draft him first overall all along. Had that happened and the Lakers stuck with local product Lonzo Ball, Fultz would have indeed slipped to No. 3, where the 76ers could have gotten their man. Instead, the 76ers traded a protected future pick (the Lakers’ 2018 pick if it’s between No. 2 and 5; the higher of the 76ers and Kings’ first-overall-protected picks in 2019 otherwise).
“The Celtics were always going to pick me No. 1, but Philly didn’t know that,” Tatum said. “Philly thought that Boston was going to pick Markelle, so Philly traded the pick and gave Boston a pick for next year, so Boston was like, ‘Well, we can still get the player we want, a [future] pick and then we get the player we wanted for less money.’ So Boston still got what they wanted, and Philly had to give up still to get the player. But Philly didn’t know that Boston was gong to pick me, so that’s why they traded up.”
Tatum was named to the All-NBA Summer League second team after averaging 18.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.