Traded 2014 First Round Picks To Watch

October 9 2013 at 10:31am CST By Luke Adams

As we saw in 2011 when the draft pick acquired from the Clippers by the Cavaliers ended up landing first overall, trading unprotected first-round picks is a risky proposition for NBA teams. That would explain why, heading into the 2013/14 season, only three ’14 first-round picks have been traded without protection, all by veteran teams expected to have strong years.

The Knicks’ first-round pick will be sent to the Nuggets, as part of New York’s debt from the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster. However, if the Knicks’ pick is less favorable than Denver’s own pick, the Nuggets will pass it along to Orlando, as part of last summer’s four-team Dwight Howard trade. Otherwise, the Magic will receive Denver’s pick.

The Warriors’ first-round pick will head to Utah, one of several picks Golden State sent to the Jazz in the cap-clearing summer deal that saw Andre Iguodala land with the Warriors.

The other unprotected first-rounder will come from the Nets, who agreed to send their pick to Boston in this offseason’s acquisition of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. As part of 2012’s Joe Johnson swap though, the Hawks have the opportunity to swap their own first-round pick with the Nets’ pick, leaving the Celtics with the lesser pick of the two. So if the Nets disappoint this season, it will be the Hawks, rather than the C’s, who benefit most.

Nine other teams have agreed to give up their respective 2014 first-round picks in certain scenarios, but given the protection on these picks, only a handful will actually change hands next summer. We’ll be keeping an eye on the standings all season to monitor whether or not these traded picks will fall under protection, but here’s an early look at the situations to watch this season:

Team: Charlotte Bobcats
Will be sent to: Chicago Bulls
Protection: 1-10
Forecast: Despite the addition of Al Jefferson, the Bobcats still likely project as a lottery team, meaning this pick has a good chance to stay put. That could be good news for the Bulls, since we continue to inch closer to 2016, when this pick will become unprotected.

Team: Dallas Mavericks
Will be sent to: Oklahoma City Thunder
Protection: 1-20
Forecast: Mark Cuban and the Mavs are optimistic about the new-look roster, but I’m skeptical that Dallas is a top-ten team. This pick will probably stay with Dallas.

Team: Detroit Pistons
Will be sent to: Charlotte Bobcats
Protection: 1-8
Forecast: If the Pistons were to finish as a bottom-eight team, I expect there’d be some jobs opening up in Detroit in 2014, given the expectations for the club. I have the Pistons penciled in as a low playoff seed in the East, so this pick should be ticketed for Charlotte.

Team: Indiana Pacers
Will be sent to: Phoenix Suns
Protection: 1-14
Forecast: While the Heat may be the No. 1 seed in the East again, the Pacers shouldn’t be too far behind them. As such, this pick will likely land in the mid-20s and be shipped to Phoenix.

Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
Will be sent to: Phoenix Suns
Protection: 1-13
Forecast: If the T-Wolves can avoid the injury problems that plagued them last season, they should be a playoff contender. The West will be competitive though, so there are no guarantees either way on this one.

Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Will be sent to: Philadelphia 76ers
Protection: 1-5
Forecast: I’m not bullish on the Pelicans’ postseason chances for 2013/14, but the offseason upgrades, along with continued development from Anthony Davis, should ensure that New Orleans isn’t a bottom-five team. The result could be a pair of lottery picks for the Sixers.

Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Will be sent to: Miami Heat
Protection: 1-14
Forecast: Speaking of those Sixers, it would be truly be a shocker if their own first-rounder changed hands next summer. Many pundits don’t expect the Sixers to win 20 games, let alone earn a playoff spot.

Team: Portland Trail Blazers
Will be sent to: Charlotte Bobcats
Protection: 1-12
Forecast: Like the Wolves, the Blazers expect to be in contention for the postseason, but again, it won’t be easy in the West. This is another pick I could see going either way.

Team: Sacramento Kings
Will be sent to: Cleveland Cavaliers
Protection: 1-12
Forecast: The Kings are entering the season with playoff aspirations as well, but their odds are significantly lower, in my view, than the Wolves’ or Blazers’. I expect we’ll see Sacramento keep this pick.

RealGM.com was used in the creation of this post.

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