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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 Trade For Steve Blake

On Wednesday, two divisional rivals made a deal when the Los Angeles Lakers sent veteran guard Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.

For the Lakers, the trade accomplished the dual goals of putting them closer to getting out of the luxury tax and adding warm bodies that can audition for next year. Bazemore and Brooks are somewhat young (both will be 25 at the start of next season) and have the physical potential to play in the NBA.

The Nets thought enough of Brooks to draft him in the first round less than three years ago, but this will be his fourth team in three seasons having never posted a full season PER above 13.8.

Bazemore has the athleticism and effort to be a capable defender but showed in Golden State that he will need extensive coaching and development to have a ballhandler role at any point in an NBA career.

The big question for the Lakers comes with thinking about this trade in conjunction with the likely (and rumored) Jordan Hill salary dump that could follow on Deadline Day. Simply dumping both players by moving them into exceptions held by other teams would have barely put the Lakers entirely under the luxury tax and eliminated any chance of being hit with the repeater tax for a while assuming nothing crazy happens this summer. It appears at present that adding both Bazemore and Brooks means that the Lakers would have to make one additional move to get firmly under the tax which may lead to a leverage play from some other NBA team if they can perceive the need. Bazemore and Brooks are solid enough fliers but that risk puts the grade down a little.

Grade for the Lakers: B

The Warriors may have corrected their single biggest overall roster flaw for the rest of the season by trading for Blake. During the offseason, management never added a primary ballhandler to play with the bench unit and back up Stephen Curry. That gap left some extra responsibility for Andre Iguodala, which did not help him and the team over the first half of the season. In Blake, Golden State adds a talent that fills that role with the possible benefit of some minutes with Curry similar to Jarrett Jack’s role without any negative locker room consequences.

Additionally, including Bazemore and Brooks in the deal kept the franchise under the luxury tax and may keep them out of the repeater tax until the next CBA. In addition, I have much less concern that the Warriors will overpay Blake this summer (in years or dollars) since he turns 34 next week. He will not be the long-term answer at backup point guard but can be a strong placeholder for the time being.

Seeing Bazemore leave the team is a little bit sad because of his enthusiasm and simply awesome bench celebrations. However, he had the chance to earn a bigger role on this team when Bob Myers did not add a primary ballhandler this summer and he could not capitalize. I will not shed tears for a player who had the chance to earn a spot and could not take it when there are plenty who never even get that. He was fun to have on the team and hopefully will use this as motivation to become the best all-around player he can be and potentially stick around the league a while longer.

Grade for the Warriors: A-

Notes Ahead Of A Unique Deadline

This deadline will be both a little less active and maybe a little more interesting due to the strange alignment of teams with assets and teams with desire for them so the traditional pieces may not be the best fit.

An Open Letter To NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Congratulations on the new job- it should continue to be one of the most important and rewarding jobs in the entire sports world for your entire tenure. While your predecessor did some remarkable work expanding the reach of the NBA, he also left some pivotal challenges for the league to address in the near term.

Constructing Better Golden State Rotations

The Warriors have a championship caliber core of players and a deeper rotation than we have seen because of how players have been used. A more cohesive and logical series of substitutions would make the team even more dangerous both now and in the playoffs.

Three Critical Days In December 2011

Considering how much has happened for the Warriors over the past 24 months, December of 2011 seems like an awfully long time ago when they signed DeAndre Jordan to an offer sheet, amnestied Charlie Bell and waived Jeremy Lin.

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

The Warriors upgraded their bench with the addition of Joe Crawford and MarShon Brooks while not giving up any valued assets, while the Heat save a ton in luxury tax payments. The Celtics, however, may have sold low on both Crawford.

Grading The Deal: Bulls Trade Luol Deng To Cavaliers

The Bulls are effectively writing off a run at the playoffs for financial savings, an improved pick of their own and an additional first rounder, while the Cavaliers continue to go all-in at exactly the wrong time.

Lottery Lowdown (December Edition)

Joel Embiid moved up to No. 2 in the updated rankings, flipping spots with Julius Randle, while Aaron Gordon climbed up from No. 19 to No. 6.

Draymond Green And The Fierce Urgency Of Now

While Draymond Green playing more minutes with Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut makes sense in the immediate, it also allows Golden State to use sub rotations that help keep the team afloat when Curry sits once Andre Iguodala returns.

Grading The Deal: Raptors Trade Rudy Gay To Kings

In trading Rudy Gay, the Raptors get a better look at the young talent that actually matters to their future while gaining more flexibility at a time they can actually use it with the possibility of two more interesting players.

Building The Next Knicks' Core

Can the Knicks do better than a 30-33 year old Carmelo Anthony for their No. 1 or No. 2 player for the next four years and beyond? If yes, then trading him ahead of the 2014 deadline would be the quickest way to become elite.

The Process

Mark Jackson has unequivocally and unquestionably proven to be an excellent motivator and leader of men. While entirely correctable by adding in a quality assistant that Jackson listens to or by him gaining experience over time, right now the strategic deficiencies of the Warriors coaching staff are their ceiling.

Lottery Lowdown (November Edition)

While each class ends up incredibly different, this potential group stands out for one key reason: it has so many interesting commodities that competent management can go the entire way through the lottery by picking the best player available. While BPA generally proves to be the best path anyway, we often see GMs pass on or reach for players because of current fit.

Top-60 Players In NBA Today (Considering Everything)

The goal here is look at overall long-term value of players by considering age, contract, positional scarcity and of course overall quality, without factors like a player’s connection with a franchise or fit within a specific system.

The 2K14 Next Gen Experience

2K could have easily rested on their laurels and made something closer to a port and devoting their resources next year to making a true next generation game. Instead, they jumped that path and are putting out what feels like an entirely new game that can stand up on its own as a premier launch title and be a remarkable jumping off point for the rest of this console generation.

2013-14 NBA Season Preview

While the Western Conference has six teams (Clippers, Thunder, Rockets, Grizzlies, Warriors) in its first tier, the Eastern Conference is a tier of one (Heat) with the Bulls, Pacers and Nets vying for the second tier.

Previewing The 2014 NBA Free Agent Class

Beyond LeBron James and even without Paul George or Larry Sanders, there are a number of other impactful players that will hit free agency.

Warriors' Rotations And Depth With Andre Iguodala

While concerns about changing the role of Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson in the offense could be well founded, swingman minutes will not be a problem whatsoever for the Warriors with Andre Iguodala and the overall benefits could be hugely significant moving forward.

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