The Boston Celtics, a 50-win team who will finish in the top two spots in the East, will have the best odds of the top pick in the NBA Draft this June.
With unexpected Suns win over the Thunder on Friday night, it became assured that the Brooklyn Nets will have the worst record in the NBA. Thanks to the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade three years ago — when Nets ownership told GM Billy King to put together a team that could contend immediately, at any cost — the Celtics have the right to swap picks with the Nets this season.
That means the Celtics will have a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick in the coming draft, and a 64.2 percent chance of a top three pick (and they can’t be outside the top four). So yes, one of the deepest rosters in the league is about to get even deeper.
Things get interesting if the Celtics land one of the top two picks, which are expected to be point guards Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. The Celtics have All-Star Isaiah Thomas on the roster, he’s a fan favorite on a very affordable contract ($6.5 million this season) who will be a free agent in 2018. How much are the Celtics willing to pay Thomas in a year if they have already drafted the point guard of the future? Should the Celtics use their cap space to extend Thomas’ contract this summer, at ideally less than max money, then use him as trade bait if Fultz/Ball show they are ready to take over the team? Thomas will be 29 next summer as a free agent, how many years do the Celtics want to extend him at that age (the history of undersized point guards is that when their skills start to fall of the drop is fast and steep)?
By the way, the Celtics also have the Nets pick next year. Just another piece of trade bait.