Danny Ainge on drafting Jayson Tatum: “Jayson was never going to Phoenix”

Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Danny Ainge had his sight set on Jayson Tatum from the start during the 2017 NBA draft process. The Boston Celtics president of basketball operation talked on “The Lowe Post podcast” on selecting Jayson Tatum, after trading with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tatum admitted he wanted to go in Phoenix that time, but a call from his agent and the Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski convinced him to go to the Boston Celtics.

“Jayson was never going to Phoenix. Even if he didn’t come in for that second workout days before the draft, we were still going to take Jayson Tatum. It’s good that all these stories are coming out about how everyone was going to take him, and we’ve got Jayson Tatum,” Ainge said, per SBnation.com.

Moreover, the Celtics’ front office was confident that Tatum will be available in the third pick and that’s the reason Ainge decide to “trade down” in the 2017 NBA draft.

“We had our eyes set on Jayson Tatum. We were very confident that Philly was going to take Markelle (Fultz) and that Lonzo (Ball) was going to LA. We were very confident in that assessment.”

As for Ball, Ainge said that no other team except for the Lakers could persuade him to “get to workout.”

“We had the number one pick for most of that process and we couldn’t get him to workout. No one could get him to workout. That was one reason we believed the intel. We had a very strong belief in that,” Ainge noted.

Listen to more with Ainge here: