NBA Draft Rights Held For 2018/19

When top college prospects like Deandre Ayton or Marvin Bagley III are drafted, it’s a given that their next step will involve signing an NBA contract. However, that’s not the case for every player who is selected in the NBA draft, especially international prospects and second-round picks.

When an NBA team uses a draft pick on a player, it gains his NBA rights, but that doesn’t mean the player will sign an NBA contract right away. International prospects will often remain with their professional team overseas for at least one more year to develop their game further, becoming “draft-and-stash” prospects. Dario Saric, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Tomas Satoransky are among the more notable players to fit this bill in recent years.

However, draft-and-stash players can be former NCAA standouts too. Sometimes a college prospect selected with a late second round pick will end up playing overseas or in the G League for a year or two if there’s no space available on his NBA team’s 15-man roster.

While these players sometimes make their way to their NBA teams, others never do. Many clubs currently hold the NBA rights to international players who have remained overseas for their entire professional careers and are no longer viewed as top prospects. Those players may never come stateside, but there’s often no reason for NBA teams to renounce their rights — those rights can sometimes be used as placeholders in trades.

For instance, during the 2018 offseason, the Mavericks and Rockets agreed to a trade that sent Chinanu Onuaku, cash, and future draft-pick swap rights to Dallas. For Houston, the deal was just about getting off Onuaku’s guaranteed salary and the tax penalty that would have come along with it, but the Mavericks had to send something to the Rockets in the deal. Rather than including an NBA player or a draft pick, Dallas sent Houston the draft rights to Maarty Leunen, the 54th pick in the 2008 NBA draft.

Leunen is currently playing for Fortitudo Bologna in Italy, and at this point appears unlikely to ever come to the NBA, but his draft rights have been a useful trade chip over the years — the Rockets/Mavericks swap represented the third time that Preldzic’s NBA rights have been included in a trade since he was drafted.

Listed below are all the players whose NBA draft rights are currently held by NBA teams. These players may eventually arrive in America and join their respective NBA clubs, but many will end up like Leunen, plying their trade overseas and having their draft rights used as pawns in NBA trades.


Atlanta Hawks

  • Augusto Binelli, C (1986; No. 40): Retired.
  • Alain Digbeu, F (1997; No. 49): Retired.
  • Marcus Eriksson, G/F (2015; No. 50): Playing in Spain.
  • Alpha Kaba, C (2017; No. 60): Playing in France.

Boston Celtics

  • None

Brooklyn Nets

Charlotte Hornets

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

  • Sani Becirovic, G (2003; No. 46): Retired.
  • Xue Yuyang, F/C (2003; No. 57): Retired.
  • Izzet Turkyilmaz, F/C (2012; No. 50): Playing in Turkey.
  • Nikola Radicevic, G (2015; No. 57): Playing in Spain.
  • Petr Cornelie, F (2016; No. 53): Playing in France.
  • Vlatko Cancar, F (2017; No. 49): Playing in Spain.

Detroit Pistons

  • None

Golden State Warriors

  • Mladen Sekularac, G/F (2002; No. 55): Retired.

Houston Rockets

  • Venson Hamilton, F (1999; No. 50): Retired.
  • Serhiy Lishchuk, F/C (2004; No. 49): Retired.
  • Axel Hervelle, F (2005; No. 52): Playing in Belgium.
  • Maarty Leunen, F (2008; No. 54): Playing in Italy.
  • Sergio Llull, G (2009; No. 34): Playing in Spain.
  • Jon Diebler, G (2011; No. 51): Playing in Turkey.
  • Marko Todorovic, F/C (2013; No. 45): Playing in Spain.

Indiana Pacers

  • Andrew Betts, C (1998; No. 50): Retired.

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat

  • George Banks, F (1995; No. 46): Retired.
  • Robert Duenas, C (1997; No. 57): Retired.

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Andrei Fetisov, F (1994; No. 36): Retired.
  • Eurelijus Zukauskas, C (1995; No. 54): Retired.

Minnesota Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Abdul Shamsid-Deen, C (1990; No. 53): Retired.
  • Sofoklis Schortsanitis, C (2003; No. 34): Last played in Greece.
  • Szymon Szewczyk, F/C (2003; No. 35): Playing in Poland.
  • Paccelis Morlende, G (2003; No. 50): Retired.
  • Yotam Halperin, G (2006; No. 53): Retired.
  • DeVon Hardin, C (2008; No. 50): Retired.
  • Devon Hall, G (2018; No. 53): Playing in Australia.
  • Kevin Hervey, F (2018; No. 57): Playing in G League.

Orlando Magic

  • Rashard Griffith, C (1995; No. 38): Retired.
  • Remon van de Hare, C (2003; No. 52): Retired.
  • Fran Vazquez, C (2005; No. 11): Playing in Spain.
  • Janis Timma, F (2013; No. 60): Playing in Greece.
  • Justin Jackson, F (2018; No. 43): Playing in G League.

Philadelphia 76ers

Phoenix Suns

  • Ron Ellis, F (1992; No. 49): Retired.
  • Milos Vujanic, G (2002; No. 36): Retired.
  • Cenk Akyol, G/F (2005; No. 59): Playing in Turkey.
  • Dwayne Collins, F (2010; No. 60): Retired.

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Marcelo Nicola, F (1993; No. 50): Retired.
  • Doron Sheffer, G (1996; No. 36): Retired.
  • Federico Kammerichs, F/C (2002; No. 51): Retired.
  • Nedzad Sinanovic, C (2003; No. 54): Retired.
  • Milovan Rakovic, C (2007; No. 60): Last played in Switzerland.
  • Daniel Diez, F (2015; No. 54): Playing in Spain.

Sacramento Kings

San Antonio Spurs

Toronto Raptors

  • DeeAndre Hulett, F (2000; No. 46): Retired.
  • Emir Preldzic, F (2009; No. 57): Playing in Turkey.

Utah Jazz

  • Peter Fehse, F (2002; No. 49): Retired.
  • Mario Austin, F/C (2003; No. 36): Retired.
  • Ante Tomic, C (2008; No. 44): Playing in Spain.
  • Shan Foster, G/F (2008; No. 51): Retired.
  • Nigel Williams-Goss, G (2017; No. 55): Playing in Greece.

Washington Wizards

Information from Mark Porcaro and Keith Smith was used in the creation of this post.

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5 thoughts on “NBA Draft Rights Held For 2018/19

  1. Ptn18

    Antonio Davis played at Texas A & M, went to Europe for a season to develop his game, and returned to the Pacers to have a stellar NBA career.

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  2. hiflew

    So do these rights ever expire? I mean in 30 years are people still going to be trading the rights to a 2nd round pick from 1986 that lives in a nursing home? At the very least, rights should expire after a player retires. Otherwise, it is just silly.

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