The Cost Of Traded 2014 First-Round Picks

November 22 2013 at 5:56pm CDT By Chuck Myron

A look at our 2013/14 Reverse Standings table wouldn’t give you the idea that the 2014 draft class is as heralded as it is. Nor would it suggest how stingy GMs were with their first-round picks at the trade deadline last year. No team dealt away a first-round pick last February, but a dozen of next year’s 30 first-rounders were involved in a trade at some point. Not all of those selections will wind up actually changing hands for 2014 thanks to the protection attached under the terms of the trades, but the teams that wind up having to surrender their picks may rue having given them up.

Of course, no trade is made in a vacuum, and the desire for cap space fuels many transactions that appear lopsided on the surface, like the Pistons’ acquisition of Corey Maggette for Ben Gordon and what could be a lottery pick this year. Still, it’s interesting to see the raw costs of 2014 draft picks and wonder whether any flexibility a team might have gained was worth the cost of a chance at a future star. In many instances, the draft pick wasn’t the only asset the team surrendered, making the cost even higher.

Here’s a closer look at a few of the most interesting cases:

  • The Blazers won’t have to worry about having given up too valuable a pick if their hot start continues, but just as trading Gerald Wallace away netted them the 2012 No. 6 overall selection that became Damian Lillard, acquiring Wallace cost Portland a first-round pick. They also surrendered the pick that became Tobias Harris in the deal to bring Wallace to Rip City, and Harris is beginning to emerge as an important player for the Magic.
  • Dallas is more than a year removed from having to deal with the headache that Lamar Odom became during his time there, but the acquisition still haunts the Mavs. Dallas gave up a first-rounder to the Lakers as part of its deal to acquire the forward, and a pair of subsequent trades have set the Thunder up to see the Mavs’ pick as soon as 2014.
  • Bobcats fans have suffered through plenty, and even though underachieving Tyrus Thomas is gone thanks to the amnesty clause, the repercussions of the team’s ill-fated decision to trade for him remain. Charlotte must send its 2014 first-rounder to Chicago if it’s not a top-10 pick, thanks to the Thomas deal.
  • Drafting Wesley Johnson fourth overall in 2010 didn’t just cost the Timberwolves the chance to grab Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and Larry Sanders, all of whom were still on the board. It also might have cost the team a late lottery pick next year. The Wolves’ 2014 first-round pick will go to the Suns if it’s No. 14 or below, since the Wolves threw the selection in as sweetener to prompt Phoenix to accept Johnson via trade last year. Ominously for the Wolves, their pick would come at No. 14 based on today’s standings.
  • It’s hard to fault the Knicks too much for trading their 2014 first-rounder, considering they gave it up in the Carmelo Anthony deal. Still, if Anthony bolts as a free agent this summer and the Knicks are left without a chance to grab a budding star in June’s draft, it will no doubt leave New York fans with plenty of regrets. That’s doubly true if the Knicks don’t start winning some games and their unprotected pick winds up as a lottery selection.

Here’s what each team with at least a slight chance of losing its 2014 first-round pick got in return. The number on the left indicates where the pick would fall in the draft order based on today’s reverse standings.

Picks that wouldn’t change hands based on today’s standings:

Picks that would:

RealGM.com and Pro Sports Transactions were used in the creation of this post.

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