Traded First-Round Picks For 2021 NBA Draft

The 2021 NBA draft is still about six months away, but a number of teams have already traded their first-round picks for that night, and more clubs may do so before this season’s trade deadline.

We’ll use the space below to keep tabs on each team’s first round pick for 2021, continually updating it as necessary throughout the year.

We’ve listed all 30 teams here, so even if a team hasn’t traded its first-round pick, that will be noted. We’ll also provide details on the protections for each traded pick, including what happens to the pick in 2022 if it doesn’t change hands in 2021.

Here’s the full breakdown on the status of each 2021 first round pick:


Atlantic

  • Boston Celtics: Own pick.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Own pick (or another team’s pick).
    • Details at bottom of story.
  • New York Knicks: Own pick (or Clippers’ pick).
    • The Knicks have the right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers if the Clippers’ pick falls outside of the top four.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Own pick.
  • Toronto Raptors: Own pick.

Central

  • Chicago Bulls: Own pick.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Own pick.
  • Detroit Pistons: Traded to Rockets or Nets (top-16 protected).
    • If this pick lands in its protected range, the Pistons would owe the Rockets their 2022 first-rounder (top-16 protected). More details at bottom of story.
  • Indiana Pacers: Own pick.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Own pick.

Southeast

  • Atlanta Hawks: Own pick.
  • Charlotte Hornets: Own pick.
  • Miami Heat: Traded to Rockets or Thunder or Nets (unprotected).
    • Details at bottom of story.
  • Orlando Magic: Own pick.
  • Washington Wizards: Own pick.

Northwest

  • Denver Nuggets: Own pick.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Traded to Warriors (top-three protected).
    • If this pick lands in its protected range, the Timberwolves would owe the Warriors their 2022 first-rounder (unprotected).
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Own pick (or Rockets’ pick).
    • Details at bottom of story.
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Traded to Rockets or Nets (top-14 protected).
    • If this pick lands in its protected range, the Trail Blazers would owe the Rockets their 2022 first-rounder (top-14 protected). More details at bottom of story.
  • Utah Jazz: Traded to Grizzlies (top-seven and 15-30 protected).
    • If this pick lands in its protected range, the Jazz would owe the Grizzlies their 2022 first-rounder (top-six protected).

Pacific

  • Golden State Warriors: Traded to Thunder (top-20 protected).
    • If this pick lands in its protected range, the Warriors would send the Thunder a 2021 second-rounder (Minnesota’s pick; unprotected).
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Own pick (or Knicks’ pick).
    • The Knicks have the right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers if the Clippers’ pick falls outside of the top four.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Traded to Pelicans (unprotected).
  • Phoenix Suns: Own pick.
  • Sacramento Kings: Own pick.

Southwest

  • Dallas Mavericks: Traded to Knicks (unprotected).
  • Houston Rockets: Own pick (or Thunder’s or Nets’ pick).
    • Details at bottom of story.
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Own pick.
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Own pick.
  • San Antonio Spurs: Own pick.

The complicated series of agreements involving the Rockets, Thunder, Heat, and Nets – which also involve the Pistons’ and Trail Blazers’ first-round picks – requires its own section for a more in-depth explanation. Essentially, the process consists of two key points:

  1. The Thunder will have the right to swap either their first-round pick or the Heat’s first-round pick for the Rockets‘ first-round pick, but only if Houston’s pick doesn’t fall in the top four. In other words, if Houston gets a top-four pick, the Rockets will keep their own first-rounder; if not, the Thunder will get the two most favorable picks of their own, the Heat’s, and the Rockets’, and Houston will get the least favorable.
  2. After the first step is complete, the Rockets will be left with at least one first-round pick, and possibly as many as three, since they’re also owed the Trail Blazers‘ first-rounder (top-14 protected) and the Pistons‘ first-rounder (top-16 protected). They would then have the right to swap any of those picks with the Nets‘ first-rounder (unprotected).

Here’s how this complex arrangement would work in practical terms: Based on the standings as of today (January 20), the Pistons are projected to have the No. 1 overall pick, followed by the Rockets at No. 4, the Heat at No. 8, the Thunder at No. 12 or 13, the Trail Blazers at No. 20 or 21, and the Nets at No. 23.

The Thunder wouldn’t be able to swap picks with Houston in this scenario, since the Rockets’ pick is protected at No. 4, so Houston would retain that pick and Oklahoma City would keep its own first-rounder, along with the Heat’s.

The Pistons would keep their protected pick, since it’s comfortably in the top 16, but the Rockets would get Portland’s pick, which is outside of the top 14. Because Houston’s picks would then be at No. 4 and No. 20/21, there would be no need to swap with the Nets, who are at No. 23.

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

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10 thoughts on “Traded First-Round Picks For 2021 NBA Draft

  1. Sillivan

    IMO

    Rockets 3 first round picks 2021
    Fake First from Pistons – Pistons won’t make playoffs
    Possible Fake First from Blazers due to injury
    Fake Swap from Nets – Nets will win more games than Rockets

    • arc89

      You would have thought the Harden deal would bring back a unprotected pick in the first round. Those picks are OK but none is going to bring a top prospect. They will need to do a lot of scouting or package 2 of them to move up higher in the draft.

      • afsooner02

        Which is what okc is likely doing and they have much better assets and more of them to offer. On top of their own pick likely being lottery.

        • Sillivan

          If Thunder finish with 10th worst and Rockets finish with 5th worst

          Thunder take away Rockets 5th pick

          Rockets can’t tank for good draft picks. They have to trade for them

      • Northern Expansion 416

        Rox for some reason didn’t wanna deal with Philly… They would have offered up 3 first rounders,Simmons & Maxey….

  2. Simmons>Russ

    Firstly great piece Luke. Very easy to understand what would’ve been a difficult situation.

    That said I think the Rockets if they keep Oladipo won’t be in the bottom 4 teams in the league and will have to give its pick away to the Thunder.
    So from Houston’s perspective they are rebuilding now. They should definitely trade away Oladipo and Tucker to the Heat and try get back just some young pieces.

    3 team deal
    Rockets: Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, Romeo Langford
    Celtics: PJ Tucker
    Heat: Victor Oladipo

    May sound like a terrible return for the Rockets but it would ensure they finish with a top 4 pick which they need. Plus going forward you’d have Nunn and Langford who are both young and promising players. Celtics take Tucker using their TPE, Heat get Oladipo and really it cost them next to nothing. Rockets take back as little salary as possibly cause the TPE.

    • hiflew

      They don’t have to be the worst 4, they just have to get lucky in the lottery drawing. The past two years the #1 pick went to the 7th worst team in the league. The only thing they need to do to potentially be in the top 4 is to miss the playoffs. All the rest is just luck.

      That being said, I like the concept of your 3 team deal. But yes, the Rockets are going to want more back through either picks or a better prospect. The Celtics would probably have to send off another one of their young guys or a future pick. And I think the Heat would have to give up more as well.

      • Simmons>Russ

        I just think the fact both Tucker and Oladipo are unrestricted fre agents doesn’t help the Rockets. Oladipo and Tucker can both walk end of the year wherever they want and in the meantime while they are on the roster they are to good for them and win them games they don’t want.
        So they are in a position they kinda need to get rid of them sooner rather than later and as for what they are asking for in return they can’t be that picky. The main reason they swapped LeVert for Oladipo was for the expiring contract. So if they view it that way they should be happy to take back an expiring deal plus either some second round picks or some young players with potential.
        I just looks like your getting next to nothing back but it kinda serves a purpose and isn’t exactly nothing.

        Nunn and Langford would actually be good coming off the bench and learning from John Wall. They could have a future at the Rockets.

  3. Sillivan

    The biggest fake swap in the nba history
    Knicks and Clippers swap 2021
    I believe that fake swap can be traded

    Example
    Knicks get Culver and a second round pick
    Wolves get Knicks conditional fake swap

  4. siggers84

    Wow Timberwolves need to get going otherwise they losing their 1st round to Warriors.

    I guess that was for Deangelo Russell. Ouch.

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