Danny Ainge 'mad' after Josh Jackson cancelled Celtics workout at last minute
Ainge and Brad Stevens were flying across country when they learned Jackson had bailed
The Boston Celtics selected Duke's Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, but things could have played out differently if not for a last-minute cancellation from Kansas' Josh Jackson.
According to Celtics president and GM Danny Ainge, he, along with head coach Brad Stevens and assistant coach Mike Zarren, were midway through a cross-country flight to see Jackson in Sacramento earlier this week when his camp cancelled at the last minute. As a result, Ainge says no one with the Celtics organization talked with Jackson, who went to the Suns at No. 4. It reminded him of a similar situation in the draft last year.
"Agents and players have all sorts of motivations to get to certain places, as we've seen in the past," Ainge told ESPN. "Remember last year, Kris Dunn didn't want to come here; we didn't hold it against him. We felt like we were just taking the player that we wanted [in Jaylen Brown last year]. And I think the same thing this time. I don't think we were trying to penalize Josh too much, but we didn't get to see him or talk to him face-to-face."
Flying from Boston to Sacramento is no small trip. That's enough to make a day of it. Ainge tried saving face, but he admits the cancellation—especially learning it mid-flight—peeved him.
"No. No. no. Well, there were thoughts, yeah, I was mad," he said. "We flew cross-country. Are you kidding me? I had to get up at 4 o'clock and fly back home."
Nevertheless, the Celtics have their man in Tatum—the same guy, he says, they would have taken if they hadn't traded out of the No. 1 overall slot earlier this week.
"We liked his size and length and rebounding and shooting. [His] Intelligence [and] character," said Ainge. "There's a lot to like about Jayson. He's going to be a terrific player."
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