Now that we know the NBA Draft order after Tuesday's lottery proceedings, it's time to look ahead to June 22, and figure out which teams might be better off trading their picks instead of adding a questionable piece of young talent to the roster.
The Lakers and Celtics came away as two of the big winners from the lottery, and while the Sixers could have done much better, ending up with the No. 3 pick is still a pretty good prize after finishing up yet another lost season.
Here are three draft-related trades we'd like to see involving the aforementioned teams.
Sixers trade the No. 3 pick for a proven, healthy scorer
The Sixers have been dreadful for four straight seasons, and much of that was by design. Thanks to former GM Sam Hinkie and his (rightfully) much-maligned Process, Philadelphia fans are no longer basketball fans -- they're fans of nonsense. A ridiculously large contingent of them gathered for a Draft Lottery party on Tuesday, and they raised a banner with Hinkie's face on it to the rafters of the establishment.
It's time for the Sixers to move forward and start becoming a basketball team instead of a joke, and adding another young player to the mix will only prolong any chance of success.
Joel Embiid was great this past season, but he's been healthy enough to appear in only 31 games in his three years in the league. You know who Philly's second- and third-leading scorers were? Ersan Ilyasova and Robert Covington, neither of whom averaged even 15 points per game.
A combination of injuries and poor decision-making in the front office have made the Sixers terrible for far too long. Trading the pick for immediate help in the form of a proven scorer who has a track record of staying healthy is the only strategy that would make any sense.
Lakers package the No. 2 pick in a trade for Jimmy Butler from the Bulls
Jimmy Butler just keeps getting better, yet he's been the constant subject of trade rumors for the past two seasons. A two-way All-Star who's entering the prime of his career at age 27 would be a perfect complement to a young Lakers roster in desperate need of a franchise cornerstone, and once one star is in place in L.A., others will finally be tempted to sign with the Lakers in free agency.
Some have suggested that L.A. should go after Paul George instead, who is widely believed to be eying the Lakers as a potential free-agent destination in 2018, and might come at a lesser cost if the Pacers know he's determined to leave.
But it wouldn't be wise to give up assets for a player who will come willingly if the roster is tempting enough, and adding one of the few star players in the league who's known to be available for the right price would fast-track the Lakers' rebuild, while finally setting the team back on the track to one day returning to a level of contention.
Celtics trade the No. 1 pick in a package for an All-Star
The Celtics were active at the trade deadline in talks with both the Bulls for Jimmy Butler and with the Pacers for Paul George, but the asking prices at the time were deemed to be far too steep. The front office in Boston liked what it saw from the team's core players, and the Celtics were clearly right to keep things together, as proven by the fact that the Celtics finished the regular season with the best record in the East.
There's a theory, however, that Danny Ainge is hesitant to use any of his precious assets to continue to build the team as long as LeBron James is at the height of his powers. He's got to slow down at some point, the thinking goes, and there's no point in wasting future draft picks or locking up salary-cap space if the Cavaliers (or whatever team James chooses to play for) continue to run roughshod in the East.
But if Boston is ever going to make a move, the time is now. Isaiah Thomas is 28, and Al Horford will be 31 in less than three weeeks. Just how competitive Boston can be against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals may go a long way in helping Ainge to make his decision, but a team with title aspirations doesn't need the No. 1 pick in a draft where no transcendent players appear to be on the board.
Go get Jimmy Butler or Paul George, or see if Gordon Hayward might opt into the final year of his deal with Utah to accept a trade to come play with Brad Stevens, his former college coach. One more star would make the Celtics a legitimate title contender, and remember: even if things don't work as planned, Boston gets Brooklyn's 2018 first-round pick too, which could very well end up No. 1 overall for a second straight season.