The Sixers and Celtics have been involved in heavy trade speculation for months on end. Those rumors have only intensified today, with reports coming down from Marc Stein, Chad Ford and other heavy hitters regarding the discussion.
A deal involving the two teams makes a lot of sense from a fundamental level, but we've talked about that enough. Let's address this bit of information that keeps popping up at every turn:
The two guys that Ainge and Celtics really like if they keep the No. 3 pick are Kris Dunn and Jaylen Brown, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 23, 2016
Kris Dunn has significant traction in Boston as No. 3 pick, sources tell @TheVertical. No final decision -- and trades remain on table.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 23, 2016
If this were taken at face value, it would be one of the worst-kept secrets in the draft. Fortunately, we don't have to do that:
Celtics fielding calls for the No. 3 pick — and the majority of the teams interested to take Kris Dunn, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 23, 2016
Even without this sort of information flowing down from insiders around the league, Boston's motivation to posture about Kris Dunn is exceedingly obvious. The Sixers infatuation with Dunn has been all over the news for a while, and Danny Ainge has everything to gain from acting as if he's unafraid to take Dunn. This was the same sort of information leak Sam Hinkie used to exploit Orlando in the Elfrid Payton deal a couple years ago.
Here's the thing -- Bryan Colangelo should be happy to let Boston select Dunn. All Ainge has accomplished if in fact he selects Dunn at No. 3 is to create an even bigger logjam at a position the Celtics are stacked at. Boston has selected a point guard in the first round the last two years running, and a third would only serve to crowd their backcourt.
The Sixers know what sort of problem that is as it pertains to the value of their assets. Boston would have enough point guards on their team to run the smallest small-ball lineup in the history of basketball:
That Dunn-Smart-Bradley-Rozier-Thomas lineup is going to give "small ball" a whole new meaning— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) June 23, 2016
Philadelphia has no reason to fear Dunn going to Boston. He loses value the second Boston selects him, and not a moment sooner. The leverage play at No. 3 is using other teams against each other -- in this case suitors like New Orleans hovering in the top-10 -- who might offer a better package to move up. Otherwise, Boston is the team with the headache as soon as they make that theoretical selection.
Every sign out of Boston otherwise has translated to one simple idea -- they don't want to make this pick at all. The Sixers paying a premium to help them avoid that problem is nonsensical. If the Sixers are dead set on getting a point guard, they should be happy to let a rival shoot themselves in the foot and capitalize on the market crash later on.