The 2017 NBA Draft is four days away but rumors of trades for the No. 1 pick ratcheted up on Friday and Saturday as reports came out that the Boston Celtics were willing to trade away the No. 1 overall pick and that they were negotiating a blockbuster deal with Atlantic division rivals the Philadelphia 76ers. Butler is the better defensive player, while George is a more dynamic scorer of the two.
Here are five takeaways from the deal.
Multiple outlets reported the deal will happen and once it becomes official, the 76ers intend to use the pick on Fultz at Thursday's draft at Barclays Center. Regardless, this means Boston now has eight first-round picks in the next three drafts.
Depending on what the Los Angeles Lakers do with the No. 2 pick, the Celtics are expected to choose from a trio of players - Josh Jackson of Kansas; Jayson Tatum of Duke and Lonzo Ball of UCLA. In 2019, they have their own first rounder, along with the Clippers' and Grizzlies; selections, and potentially the Kings' pick. How could a team pass on a chance to select Markelle Fultz?
The Sixers, meanwhile, settled in for a lengthy evening with Fultz that included a workout, physical exam, media session and dinner. "Jackson is an Ainge player all the way". His outside shooting remains a major question mark (56.6 percent free throw shooter) but that hasn't stopped Ainge from rolling the dice on a prospect before (see Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown).
If all else fails, and the Boston Celtics do not complete a trade for a star player, Josh Jackson is an okay fallback option. While there are plenty of ways they could go with the pick, some seem far more likely than others at this point in the process.
Fultz would be joining a Philadelphia 76ers that is unlikely to match up soon with the Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers but as ESPN puts it "would likely expect to turn a real corner toward respectability again", with big boost to be provided by top draft picks in the next few years.
Teams can begin negotiating deals with unrestricted free agents on July 1, but must wait until July 6 for contracts to be signed.
The same questions about fit will now surround Philadelphia's backcourt, although Ben Simmons - who missed his entire rookie season previous year while recovering from a foot injury - can be more of a traditional point guard than Thomas, and won't require the ball in his hands as much.
Philadelphia had the No. 1 draft spot on three previous occasions, taking Doug Collins in 1973, Allen Iverson in 1996 and Simmons a year ago. Health is a concern, especially given Embiid's injury history and Simmons' foot surgery. Philly landed the No. 3 pick in the draft thanks to a pick swap with Sacramento courtesy of Hinkie.
The sense is Boston is looking to move this pick and other assets to get a star.
Hinkie's vision of bottoming out and increasing the odds of putting together a young core of lottery picks is coming together, even if he's no longer around to oversee it.
That's how happy Sixers fans would be. Yet, there were reports suggesting that people around the Lakers' camp were not satisfied with Ball's workout and are instead eyeing University of Washington starlet Markelle Fultz.