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: Traded to Magic (top-four protected).
  • 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: Traded to Rockets (top-nine protected).
    • The Rockets will have the right to swap their own 2021 second-round pick for the Bucks’ first-round 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 (8-30 protected).
    • If this pick lands in its protected range, the Lakers would owe the Pelicans their 2022 first-rounder (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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