Otherwise, the Celtics will have a choice of first-rounders in 2019 - either from Sacramento or Philadelphia, whichever pick is higher.
The trade that has sent shockwaves through the National Basketball Association all weekend - Philadelphia acquires Boston's No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's draft in exchange for the No. 3 and a future first-rounder - became official Monday, signaling the 76ers are serious about winning now and the Celtics are planning ... something.
"We are certainly aware of our competition", Ainge said. Meanwhile, there's no guarantee the Celtics will pick at No. 3, where they've been said to desire Kansas forward Josh Jackson; as ESPN's Chris Forsberg notes, a deal like this makes one wonder if there's a bigger plan in the works from Celtics president Danny Ainge.
A trade is still possible, but smart money is on the Celtics making this pick, and there will be a lot of concern from fans who see a clear top three in this draft class, none of which seem to be on Boston's radar. We watched the same Finals that everybody did.
In summation, the Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick in a loaded draft for the No. 3 pick (which still could be good) and a future first rounder that cannot be a top selection. Boston needs to make sure they find the right fit for their franchise to lead the team in the future and be an immediate impact player.
The biggest determining factor in whether this trade is viewed as a win for the Sixers or a win for the Celtics is how Fultz produces at the National Basketball Association level. If the Los Angeles Lakers hold a pick between No. 2 and No. 5 next season, Boston gets that one.
Boston, with leading scorer Isaiah Thomas already manning the point guard position, was equally thrilled to drop down two spots and receive what they expect to be a high first-round pick in either 2018 or 2019. If you had to grade out this trade, you'd say that both teams are getting what they want, but you'd have to say that it favors the Sixers at least slightly, considering we at least know what they're getting out of it (Markelle Fultz). "But we're not afraid of that". In 2016, the Sixers picked Ben Simmons, who didn't play at all during the season after breaking a bone in his foot. Fultz would join a Philadelphia roster that includes Simmons, Jahlil Okafor and 2017 Rookie of the Year finalists Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.
"I am incredibly excited that we've acquired the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's National Basketball Association draft", 76ers managing general partner Josh Harris said.
With Thomas, though, the Celtics didn't necessarily need a point guard - which is the piece Philadelphia apparently wanted most. "This pick provides us a tremendous opportunity to add another foundational player to our promising core".
Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 25 games during his lone college season at Washington, excelling on a team that finished 9-22.