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2014 First Round Picks (Which Teams Own The Picks?)

While RealGM has an excellent database of the draft picks that have been traded between teams, I wanted to put together a summary more focused on the upcoming draft. For the sake of clarity, this version will only deal with the first round.

Atlanta Hawks- Have the right to swap their own pick with Brooklyn’s. At this point, it appears Atlanta will just keep their own and move on.

Boston Celtics- Have their own first and the less favorable of Atlanta and Brooklyn, likely Brooklyn right now. They have a future first from the Sixers as well, but it only goes this year if Philadelphia makes the playoffs. We all know that will not happen.

Brooklyn Nets- No matter what, they lose their pick without getting one in return.

Charlotte Bobcats- Their own first goes to Chicago as long as the Bobcats stay remotely on track (top-10 protected) but they pick up Portland’s unless the Blazers effectively lose out. The lingering question is Detroit- if the pick is 1-8, the Pistons keep it but if it’s 9th or worse it goes to Charlotte. My gut feeling is that once Detroit knows they will not make the playoffs we will see a push to the bottom reminiscent of the 2012 Warriors.

Chicago Bulls- Have their own pick and Charlotte’s unless the Bobcats collapse. The Sacramento pick they acquired in the Luol Deng trade is top-12 protected so it will not come this year.

Cleveland Cavaliers- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Dallas Mavericks- One of the more interesting situations in the league. By having top-20 protection on their pick (it goes to Oklahoma City if it falls 21-30 this year), the Mavs could lose their pick if they make the playoffs. Right now, the bottom seeds in the West look to be about even with the 3-4 spots in the East, so it could go either way.

Denver Nuggets- They keep the better of their pick and New York’s, sending the worse one to Orlando.

Detroit Pistons- Keep their pick if it is eighth or better, otherwise it goes to Charlotte. I fully expect them to understand the incentives and lose enough to retain it.

Golden State Warriors- Their first goes to Utah no matter what.

Houston Rockets- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Indiana Pacers- Their pick is going to Phoenix as a part of the Luis Scola trade from last summer.

Los Angeles Clippers- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Los Angeles Lakers- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Memphis Grizzlies- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Miami Heat- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Milwaukee Bucks- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Minnesota Timberwolves- The pick is top-13 protected, meaning they have to make the postseason or have the best record of any non-playoff team to send it to Phoenix. At this point, it looks like the pick will be No. 13 and thus the Wolves will keep it.

New Orleans Pelicans- Their pick goes to Philadelphia unless it lands in the top-five. It will be hard for the Pelicans to jump enough of the teams “ahead” of them, but they still have a shot of jumping them in the lottery itself.

New York Knicks- They lose their pick no matter what, though the destination could change.

Oklahoma City Thunder- They have their own pick and get Dallas’ first if it ends up between 21 and 30, certainly a possibility.

Orlando Magic- Retain their own pick and get the less favorable of Denver and New York’s selections. This could end up swinging on whether the Knicks can make the playoffs- if they do, the pick falls a few spots to No. 15.

Philadelphia 76ers- They keep their own pick as long as they miss the playoffs (just a formality at this point) and pick up one from New Orleans as long as it falls outside the top five.

Phoenix Suns- They have their own pick and Indiana’s on lock and appear likely to pick up Washington’s since the Wizards should make the playoffs. Minnesota’s pick has top-13 protection, so I expect the Suns to only end up with three this year.

Portland Trail Blazers- Their pick is going to Charlotte unless the Blazers have a truly epic collapse.

Sacramento Kings- Their pick has top-12 protection, so the Kings look like they will keep it even if they rattle off some late-season wins.

San Antonio Spurs- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Toronto Raptors- Have their own pick free and clear and no other first rounders.

Utah Jazz- They have both their own pick and Golden State’s.

Washington Wizards- They will send their pick to Phoenix barring a major letdown.

The Third Contract

While justifiable and collectively bargained, the last two CBAs possess a few particularly interesting processes that have huge effects on decision-making. Some of these, like the Chandler Parsons situation (where the Rockets can pick up his super cheap team option and allow him to be Unrestricted in 2015 or decline it to have him Restricted this summer] and the repeater luxury tax get plenty of ink. However, one of the more interesting impacts comes from a more abstract place and deserves more attention.

In today’s NBA, most players have very little control over their destination for their first two contracts. The first typically comes by being drafted so the athlete has almost zero say in where he ends up. For high level players in particular, the gigantic disincentives in terms of financial security have meant that only Ben Gordon (not risking as much because a max deal was not on the table) has declined extending and spent two seasons in peril in exchange for unrestricted free agency.

These factors combine to create a fascinating set of circumstances when the second contract ends, as the best players have spent 7-9 years in the NBA (likely in the same city) and are just entering their primes in most cases. After having all that time with zero say, a vast majority of them enter the free agent market because the current extension rules are not favorable for young players due to limitations on contract length.

As such, the league sees high-level players able to be truly wooed for the first time in their professional careers with dramatically weaker disincentives to leave and a new CBA that makes sign-and-trades a less useful proposition. The combination of complete freedom and years of team control means that the third contract typically marks the first time we really get to know what a player wants in the short and long-term.

LeBron James and Chris Bosh used their third contract to join forces with Dwyane Wade and have reached the NBA Finals  in every season since The Decision.

Dwight Howard spurned the Lakers to make the Rockets a new Western Conference contender.

Ten years ago, Kobe Bryant publicly flirted with the Clippers before returning to the Lakers.

The third contract carries so much intrigue because as much as we think we know about NBA players, they never have the choices available to them earlier in their careers. There are plenty of valid reasons for someone to select their next location: team quality, connections with their current team, a good front office and/or coach, and a nice city to live in often carry weight in these circumstances. That said, each and every individual values those factors in different ways and can see the same landscape meaningfully differently. Thanks to a confluence of events from David Kahn not putting a five-year deal on the table for Kevin Love to opposing teams being restricted to offering four-year offer sheets, the next few summers will be full of tantalizing young talent finally gaining the freedom to go where they want.

Summer of 2014

All-Star snub Kyle Lowry looks to capitalize on a big season by being an unrestricted free agent for the first time.

Luol Deng and Emeka Okafor will also experience free agency for the first time since their second contracts were six-year deals grandfathered into the new CBA.

Rudy Gay has the choice of entering this class or the next one thanks to his big player option.

Astonishingly, Andrew Bogut would have joined this UFA first-timers group had he not signed an extension with the Warriors over the summer. Bogut has never been a free agent of any type in the NBA and will not be until 2017 with 12 years of service at that point.

While some people are already saying he may be close to done, Danny Granger gets an asterisk since he was a free agent this week but will have his first summer on the open market. 

Summer of 2015

While Kevin Love generates the most headlines, the third contract group for 2015 runs incredibly deep. Likely Defensive Player of the Year Roy Hibbert joins 13-14 DPOY Marc Gasol on the unrestricted market assuming Hibbert declines his player option.

If those three All-Star bigs were not enough, Brook Lopez has a player option as well and could leave Brooklyn if the team disappoints between now and then. His twin brother, Robin, will be in this class too, which could be something to watch considering their close relationship. In case this group needed another big, Robin’s current teammate LaMarcus Aldridge can select his team as well and should generate major interest around the league. You can add in DeAndre Jordan as the cherry on top.

Thanks to a five-year extension under the old CBA, Rajon Rondo will hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in 2015.  Rudy Gay, another member of the 2006 draft class, joins the group if he picks up his player option this summer. Philadelphia forward Thaddeus Young can add himself to the mix if he declines his option year while Arron Afflalo could be here as well if he declines his fifth year player option.

Finally, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin will have a more normal free agency after back-loaded contracts as RFAs landed both of them in Houston while Wesley Matthews gets his chance after a “poison pill” deal put him in Portland two years before Daryl Morey got his two.

Summer of 2016

Kevin Durant gets the top of the marquee (as he should) but this strong group also includes Joakim Noah, Noah's Florida teammate Al Horford, and Mike Conley. Incredibly, Dwight Howard could be gunning for his fourth contract the same summer since he signed a deal with Houston that made his fourth season a player option.

Interesting starters like Ryan Anderson, Nicolas Batum, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Brandon Jennings and Eric Gordon (if he picks up his option) could join the party too.

Summer of 2017

Likely the first group of players to become UFAs under the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, Thunder teammates Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka and former teammate James Harden headline a group that includes Derrick Rose (get healthy!), DeMar DeRozan, Tiago Splitter, Taj Gibson, Jrue Holiday, George Hill, and Tyreke Evans.

We should see a vast majority of these players hit true unrestricted free agency since the current CBA limits the length of non-rookie extensions to three years after the end of their existing contract. Since these individuals should be good enough to get four or more, I fully expect them to maximize their potential security and enjoy getting wooed for the first time as professionals. This shifted reality could lead to the power dynamics in the league changing more frequently than under previous agreements and make July 1 a much more interesting time each year.

Grading The Deal: Warriors Upgrade Bench, Heat Save Money, Celtics Sell Low

As reported, here are the details of the deal:

Miami Heat receive: Toney Douglas (from Golden State)

Boston Celtics receive: Joel Anthony, Philadelphia’s lottery-protected 2014/2015 first rounder that reverts to two second rounders if not sent by then, and a Miami second (from Miami)

Golden State Warriors receive: Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks (from Boston)

This is an interesting trade because, as reported, each franchise only trades pieces to one team and only receives them from the other.

For the Warriors

In many ways, this acknowledges the biggest misstep of Golden State’s offseason: signing a back-up point guard who should not be a primary ballhandler. Toney Douglas has been a solid defender and player off the ball earlier in his career, but was a terrible fit for this second unit because Kent Bazemore, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes have trouble creating for others and usually themselves as well.

Mark Jackson should have adjusted to this reality by staggering Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala’s minutes in order to have a creator on the floor more of the time but the dominance of the #FullSquad starting lineup made shifting either David Lee and/or Iguodala’s minutes a less desirable proposition. With those constraints, a move had to be made.

What Jordan Crawford brings is that Nate Robinson-esque quality to generate and take shots. He may also use some of the ability to create for others that was cultivated in Boston, which would be a huge benefit. The Warriors have been terrible offensively without Curry on the floor and even Crawford at his worst would make that better.

MarShon Brooks is another lottery ticket that may actually be able to contribute or net a small asset (think late second rounder) if the team decides to move him again before the deadline. Also, playing Crawford alongside Kent Bazemore should allow Bazemore to defend opposing point guards some of the time while not handling the ball, which represents Bazemore’s ideal bench role.

Would a more established and reliable point guard have been a better option? Sure. However, it seems unlikely that a superior fit like Kyle Lowry or Kirk Hinrich could have been acquired without giving up assets. Since the Warriors cannot trade picks for a while and do not have a logical piece on roster, those moves became less likely once the Bulls got under the luxury tax by trading Luol Deng. There is also an outside chance that Crawford can handle some possessions with Curry to allow him to play off the ball.

One other interesting facet of the trade is the fact that while MarShon Brooks will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, whoever has Crawford at the end of the year retains his restricted rights. While that could allow Golden State to retain him if they want, it could also be used to get a trade exception from whatever team wants to pay Crawford because the signing team loses very little by giving the Warriors that flexibility. That TPE could then be used to acquire a bench player later in the summer despite Golden State being over the salary cap. Potentially, that could mean a respectable rotation piece that keeps them under the luxury tax for another season. If he plays well, that could even be Crawford though I fully expect it to be someone else.

Grade for Golden State: B+

For the Celtics

I fully understand the desire to get at least some assets for expiring contracts like Crawford and Brooks that they were not likely to retain. However, in terms of what Boston got back they may have sold low on Crawford despite trading him at his (at least short-term) peak value.

The Philadelphia pick is protected 1-14 for each of the next two seasons and then becomes two second round picks if not conveyed by then. Considering the Sixers absolutely will not make the playoffs this year, the only way Boston gets a first is if they make it in 2014-15. That could be possible with a healthy Nerlens Noel and a quality draft but they might still be one year away. The second rounders could be decent but not extremely valuable.

Another meaningful consideration is what I said about Crawford above in regards to his RFA rights. However, Boston should expect to have cap space of their own this summer so the value of a trade exception goes down sharply and the major benefit of RFA rights comes from the ability to retain the player, which appears to not have much value to Boston.

Finally, the Celtics did take on some salary for next season in Joel Anthony though it should not preclude them from making any big moves since bigger names like Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace and Jeff Green are signed past next season anyway.

Grade for Boston: D+

For Miami

Most of the criticisms levied on Toney Douglas in the Golden State section do not apply to Miami since they have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to handle the ball while other players defend opposing point guards. Douglas should fit right in there as a third point guard and utility guard in a system that makes substantially more sense with what he does well.

On top of that, the move saved Heat ownership lots of money in terms of the luxury tax, as well as a roster spot and salary for a limited value player next season. Roster spots mean more to the Heat than any other NBA franchise because they can get minimum salary players who can actually contribute.

Losing the Philadelphia potential first takes a little bit of the shine off it since any team in the East could make the postseason next year but not a ton since it feels unlikely.

Even then, Miami added a more useful piece this season and saved money while adding flexibility as well.

Grade for Miami: A-

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