Josh Jackson made Celtics fly across the country for no reason
Count Danny Ainge displeased.
Former right-hand man Ryan McDonough probably doesn’t feel for him.
Josh Jackson, McDonough’s No. 4 draft selection for the Suns, set up camp in Sacramento during the pre-draft process, and that’s where Phoenix watched him work out.
The Celtics, armed with the pick just ahead of the Suns, also thought they’d take a peek at the Kansas forward and set up a time and date.
Well, after the flight was booked and boarded by Ainge, the president of basketball ops, along with head coach Brad Stevens and assistant GM Mike Zarren, Jackson’s camp canceled the workout.
“Never talked with Josh, no one in our organization did,” Ainge told the Boston media after the Celtics took Duke forward Jayson Tatum in the draft. “They canceled a workout on us when we flew out to Sacramento and they just decided to cancel it as we flew — it was Brad and I and Mike Zarren, it was cross-country. There was something, he didn’t want to play for the Celtics.”
Now, that didn’t necessarily rule Jackson out of being selected third. At least, Ainge didn’t think so.
Whether he was being playful during his meeting with reporters after the draft is up for debate.
“In spite of (the canceled workout), we watched Josh for two years and we’re fans,” Ainge said. “He’s a terrific kid and a good player. We tried not to overreact to those types of things and make a big deal of it. You know, agents and players have all sorts of motivations to get to certain places.”
Maybe it did change the Celtics’ minds, pushing them to take Tatum instead.
“There’s nothing to do in Sacramento,” Ainge said. “I was mad.
“I had to get up at 4 o’clock and fly home.”
Jackson admitted to ESPN after he was picked by Phoenix that his decision not to work out for Boston might have affected where he was selected.
“Maybe a little bit but you know, I’m here today, I’m happy, and you know I’m glad to be a Phoenix Suns now,” he said.