In this Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge speaks with members of the media in Canton, Mass. The Celtics are looking for ways to parlay their three first-round draft picks into a deal.” (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

The Boston Celtics are reportedly searching for a pathway into the top three of the 2020 NBA Draft, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein.

The Celtics have been looking for a way to maximize the value of their three first-round picks while consolidating as well. Boston doesn’t have a ton of roster space for three guaranteed deals and reportedly was finding little traction in the middle of the lottery for simply packaging picks 14, 26 and 30 to move up.

But this is the first time we’ve gotten an inkling that Boston might be looking for something a little bigger in the first round. On our latest big board, we listed Onyeka Okongwu as our top target for the Celtics, but recent reports suggest teams are concerned about a foot injury. Trading into the top three also feels a little excessive for a player like Okongwu — the top three are pretty well established as LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman and Anthony Edwards.

Those three are all interesting players for Boston. Edwards has a lot of red flags (we can’t be sure he even likes basketball that much) but he’s an otherworldly athlete, and he’s extremely talented for someone who isn’t obsessed with the sport he plays. Wiseman’s floor appears to be a rim-protecting big man with incredible athleticism, and there’s reason to believe he could be even more. Ball doesn’t feel like a great fit, but he’s supremely talented and could be a point guard of the future. The Celtics don’t generally draft for fit, and it seems unlikely they would trade into the top three to do so.

The other possibility is that Boston is working on something bigger and hopes to acquire a top-three pick as part of a trade package to acquire a superstar. If a team with a Celtics target is interested in making a deal but wants a top three pick, Boston might be able to swing that. We’ve said repeatedly the Celtics can probably get wherever they want in this year’s class if they have the appetite to make a deal. Perhaps that’s the answer: Boston might not have the appetite to make a deal for one of the top prospects, but trading for a bigger star is an option too.

In any case, the next few hours will be fascinating.

By Tom Westerholm,