Sixers Rumors

What Lottery, Draft Rules Mean For Traded 2020 First Round Picks

It got a bit lost in the shuffle amidst all of Thursday’s updates, but the NBA provided some important details on how this year’s draft lottery seeding and odds will work. They are as follows:

  1. The eight teams not included in the Orlando restart will be the top eight teams in the lottery standings.
  2. The 9-14 spots in the lottery will be made up of the six teams that don’t make the playoffs following this summer’s “seeding games” and possible play-in tournaments. Their seedings and odds will be based on their records as of March 11.
  3. The rest of the first round will be sorted by record, as usual. The order will be based on teams’ regular season results and the results of the eight seeding games this summer.

With those rules in mind, we have a pretty good sense of how traded first round picks for 2020 will be affected, so let’s take a closer look…


Picks whose fates have essentially been decided:

Cavaliers‘ first-round pick (traded to Pelicans if not in top 10)

  • As the league’s second-worst team in 2019/20, the Cavaliers can’t fall below sixth in the lottery, so they’ll keep their pick, which will land anywhere from No. 1 to 6.

Sixers‘ first-round pick (traded to Nets if not in top 14)

  • The Sixers have a nine-game lead on Orlando, which means they’ve now clinched a playoff spot and will send their pick to Brooklyn. It’s currently projected to land at No. 19 or 20, but it could move up or down based on this summer’s seeding games.

Pacers‘ first-round pick (traded to Bucks if not in top 14)

  • Like the Sixers, the Pacers have now clinched a playoff spot, which assures they’ll send their pick to Milwaukee. This pick is also currently projected to land at No. 19 or 20 (Philadelphia and Indiana are tied at 39-26), but it could move higher or lower once play resumes.

Rockets‘ first-round pick (traded to Nuggets)

  • This pick is unprotected, so the Rockets will send it to Denver. At 40-24, the Rockets are tied with Oklahoma City, putting their pick in line to be No. 21 or 22. They’re bunched up with a few teams in the standings though, so that could change when play resumes.

Jazz‘s first-round pick (traded to Grizzlies if it falls between 8-14)

  • The Jazz have now clinched a spot in the postseason, so they’ll keep their pick for at least one more year. It’s currently projected to be No. 24 overall, but that may change.

Nuggets‘ first-round pick (traded to Thunder)

  • An unprotected pick, the Nuggets’ first-rounder is currently projected to be No. 25. They’ll send it to Oklahoma City.

Clippers‘ first-round pick (traded to Knicks)

  • This is another unprotected selection, which the Clippers will send to New York. For now, it projects to be No. 27.

Bucks‘ first-round pick (traded to Celtics)

  • The Bucks, who will send this pick to Boston, have a four-game lead for the NBA’s best record, so this selection will likely be No. 30, though it could theoretically move up a spot or two.

Picks whose fates remain up in the air:

Nets‘ first-round pick (traded to Timberwolves if not in top 14)

  • At 30-34, the Nets have a half-game lead over Orlando and a six-game cushion over Washington. If they slump when play resumes, there’s a scenario in which they lose their playoff spot. The Magic would have to pass them and the Wizards would have to pull to within four games before beating Brooklyn twice in a row in a play-in tournament.
  • If the Nets miss the playoffs, this pick would end up at either No. 13 or 14 in the lottery standings, and Brooklyn would keep it.
  • If the Nets hang on a clinch a playoff spot, it figures to be the No. 15, 16, or 17 pick, and they’ll send it to the Timberwolves.

Grizzlies‘ first-round pick (traded to Celtics if it’s not in top six)

  • The Grizzlies have a 3.5-game lead over three Western teams (Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento), with a four-game cushion over San Antonio and a six-game cushion over Phoenix.
  • They’re in position to secure a playoff spot, and if they do, they’ll send this pick to the Celtics. It would fall between Nos. 15-17.
  • If the Grizzlies lose their playoff spot, they’ll move to No. 14 in the lottery standings. In all likelihood, the pick would end up there and they’d still have to send it to Boston. However, they’d have a minuscule chance (2.4%) of moving into the top four via the lottery, in which case they’d keep the pick.

Thunder‘s first-round pick (traded to Sixers if not in top 20)

  • Based on the Thunder’s current 40-24 record, this pick currently projects to be No. 21 or 22, in which case OKC would have to send it to Philadelphia.
  • However, if the Thunder lose ground during this summer’s seeding games, they could be surpassed in the standings by as many as three teams, meaning the pick could end up in the No. 18-20 range. In that case, Oklahoma City would keep it.

More Details On Friday’s Board Of Governors Call

There’s concern among some NBA owners about the fact that a 22-team return-to-play format would result in a number of small-market teams not playing any games for nine months or more, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.

The ESPN duo reports that Thunder owner Clay Bennett expressed those concerns on last Friday’s Board of Governors call, openly wondering if the NBA could bring back all 30 clubs when it resumes play. Other team owners, including Josh Harris (Sixers) and Robert Sarver (Suns) “enthusiastically” backed the idea of having as many teams as possible in the bubble environment, per Woj and Lowe, who add that Hawks owner Tony Ressler wants his team to be able to play in Orlando even without a path to the postseason.

While some team owners are in favor of having all 30 teams resume play, commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA don’t appear as bullish on that idea, given the health and safety concerns tied to bringing so many people to Orlando. Additionally, as ESPN’s report notes, Silver reminded those on Friday’s call that many players – and some teams – are “far less invested” in the idea of conducting several weeks of camps and enduring a quarantine period in order to play a handful of regular season games.

Wojnarowski and Lowe provided several more details on Friday’s conference call. We’ll round up the highlights right here:

  • One Eastern Conference official on Friday’s call described the push to include as many teams as possible as follows, according to ESPN: “The message was something bigger, reminding people that some teams can’t just reopen the doors in nine of 10 months and so easily sell tickets or a sponsorship without having played basketball for that long.”
  • With the NBA focusing on a 22-team return to play, there have been conversations about the teams left out of this season’s resumption holding mandatory summer training camps or even participating in regional fall leagues to help bridge the gap between seasons, per ESPN. Such a concept would need to be collectively bargained with players, and Woj and Lowe say there’s an expectation that the league will reach out to the NBPA to discuss the issue.
  • The NBA is still determining how a potential play-in tournament would work in the 22-team format, Woj and Lowe say. It remains unclear how much of an advantage the current No. 8 seeds would receive in such a tournament, especially if they widen their leads on non-playoff teams when the season resumes. The unbalanced nature of bringing back 13 Western teams and just nine Eastern squads also complicates the play-in issue.
  • According to ESPN’s report, the NBA estimates that a 22-team format with some regular season games and a play-in tournament will be worth “several hundred million dollars more in revenue” than a 16-team format that advances straight to the postseason.

Sixers May Have To Break In New Starting Lineup

And-Ones: Bonuses, Travel, Blazers, TBT

While it’s not at or near the top of the NBA’s list of priorities at this point, one issue the league will have to address is how players bonuses and incentives will be determined for the 2019/20 season. In an Insider-only story, Bobby Marks of ESPN identifies a number of interesting cases that remain up in the air due to the fact that the season has been suspended and may not be completed in full.

For instance, Tyus Jones‘ contract with the Grizzlies calls for him to receive a bonus worth $858K if the team wins 33 or more games. Memphis was at 32 wins when the NBA went on hiatus. Sixers center Joel Embiid, meanwhile, would have his salaries for the next three seasons become fully guaranteed if he logs 1,650 minutes this season — he was 321 minutes short of that mark when the league suspended play.

As Marks explains, the outcome of some of those incentives may have to be negotiated, but in general, the most logical approach would be for the NBA to prorate a player’s stats over a full 82-game season. For instance, if the Sixers finish the season having played just 65 out of 82 games, Embiid’s per-game minutes average for 65 games (20.4 MPG) would be prorated over 82 games. That would work out to 1,677 minutes, so he’d receive his guarantee. The same goes for Jones, since the Grizzlies were on pace to win well over 33 games.

That approach, which the NBA took during the 2011/12 lockout season, wouldn’t help players who have incentives tied to percentages — for instance, a player who needed to make 35.0% of his three-point attempts to earn a bonus and finished at 34.7% wouldn’t receive that extra money.

As we wait to see how the NBA resolves that issue and others, let’s round up a few more basketball odds and ends…

  • NBA players and staff who are outside the country are now permitted to re-enter the United States via a U.S. Department of Homeland Security issue, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. That will benefit not only international players like Luka Doncic and Sekou Doumbouya, who returned to their home countries during the hiatus, but also Raptors players and coaches who are currently in Toronto.
  • In a piece that focuses primarily on the Trail Blazers, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN looks at what it’s been like for players to return to their teams’ practice facilities this month during an ongoing pandemic.
  • The Basketball Tournament (TBT), an annual summer event that features a number of former college standouts and overseas players, isn’t being postponed or canceled, according to organizers. As Myron Medcalf of ESPN details, participants will be tested repeatedly for COVID-19 and a team will be eliminated if one of its players tests positive. The plan is to move forward with the tournament in July.

Hofmann, Hollinger Examine Sixers' Future

  • Looking at the Sixers‘ future with Rich Hofmann of The Athletic, John Hollinger suggests the team has painted itself into a bit of a corner with its big-money commitments to some secondary players and will need to get creative to upgrade its roster going forward.

Sixers To Reopen Practice Facility On Wednesday

The Sixers will begin a “phased reopening” of their practice facility on Wednesday, the team announced today in a press release. Players will be permitted to conduct voluntary individual workouts at the facility, in accordance with the strict guidelines implemented by the NBA.

The 76ers’ practice facility is located in Camden, New Jersey, rather than in Pennsylvania, so the team was waiting on the go-ahead from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Murphy announced this morning that professional sports teams would be permitted to return “to training and even competition” in New Jersey (Twitter link). According to the Governor, the state has been engaged in “constant discussions” with teams about the necessary safety protocols.

With Brooklyn and Charlotte reopening their practice facilities today, 21 NBA teams have done so — Philadelphia will be No. 22. That leaves the Bulls, Celtics, Knicks, Mavericks, Pistons, Spurs, Warriors, and Wizards.

Is It Time For Sixers To Bring Vasilije Micic Stateside?

  • Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic is coming off an impressive season with EuroLeague team Anadolu Efes and is one of the NBA’s most intriguing draft-and-stash players. The Sixers hold Micic’s NBA rights, prompting Derek Bodner, Mike O’Connor, and Rich Hofmann of The Athletic to explore whether this offseason is the right time for Philadelphia to try to convince the 26-year-old to come stateside.

Examining What Could've Been If Joel Embiid Started His NBA Career Healthy

  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic ponders what could’ve been if Joel Embiid started his NBA career healthy. Embiid, the No. 3 pick in 2014, missed both of his first two seasons in the league due to injuries and made his debut in October of 2016. He’s since transitioned into one of the league’s most dominant big men, averaging 23.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in 44 games this season with the Sixers.

Brett Brown Expects Simmons, Embiid To Be Ready

Sixers coach Brett Brown expects Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to be healthy enough to play whenever the NBA season resumes, write Rich Hofmann and Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Brown offered a medical update on both stars and covered a few other topics during a conference call Friday with Philadelphia media.

Simmons hasn’t played since suffering a lower back impingement in February. His injury has allowed him to work out at the team facility during the hiatus, and general manger Elton Brand said last week that he’s optimistic Simmons can return by the time play starts again. Brown called the injury “as disturbing a memory as it relates to a player that I can think of.”

“He’s lying on his back, he’s vomiting primarily because of pain, and trying to get him back on the plane and build him back up to some level of health where he can play basketball with us again, that timeline was always an interesting one,” Brown said.

Embiid was dealing with a shoulder sprain and had just returned to the lineup on the night the hiatus began. Although he no longer has any pressing injury concerns, Brown said Embiid’s health and fitness levels will be important, saying he has a “desire to be at a playing weight that equals his best since he’s been in the league.”

Brown addressed a few other topics during the conference call:

What will it mean for the Sixers if the season can’t be completed?

“I feel this strongly … this thing is so, for me, incomplete. We need to be able to come back to the table, take the team that we have, the work that we’ve been putting in, and let that be Judgment Day. Let that environment be, you know, ‘you did’ or ‘you didn’t’ type stuff. And that’s how I approach it. I feel very confident, and respectfully cocky, that we’ve done good work (during this stoppage). I’m proud of my coaching staff.”

How would playing in an empty arena change the atmosphere?

“Obviously, playing in front of no fans, especially our fans, isn’t ideal. How will it play out? I don’t know. None of us have ever done this. But the alternative of simply not playing is obviously far less desired. Do I think it’ll water down the competitive side? I don’t. Of course, it’s going to have some level of an impact. I do feel just the mere fact that we’ll be playing again might be able to sort of minimize whatever awkwardness playing in front of zero fans (would have).”

How he’s using “The Last Dance” documentary as a teaching tool:

“We’re all, ‘You need shooters, you need defensive people, you need somebody to pick ’em, Jo, Ben, whatever. Like, it’s hard for me to go past that human quality: ‘Are you a sick competitor? Does it really bother you when you lose?’ Obviously, that part of that documentary as we’re watching it, how can that not be at the forefront?”

2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Philadelphia 76ers

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead at the 2020/21 salary cap situations for all 30 NBA teams. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the NBA, it’s impossible to know yet where the cap for 2020/21 will land. Given the league’s lost revenue, we’re assuming for now that it will stay the same as the ’19/20 cap, but it’s entirely possible it will end up higher or lower than that.

No team gave the 2019 champion Raptors a more competitive series than the Sixers, who were inches away from forcing overtime in Game 7 in Toronto last spring. That knowledge helped fuel lofty expectations in Philadelphia entering the 2019/20 season, with the 76ers widely considered part of the conference’s two-team top tier alongside Milwaukee.

An up-and-down season saw the Sixers fall short of those expectations — they were 39-26 and ranked just sixth in the East entering the NBA’s hiatus. However, there was still hope that they could make noise in the playoffs, and it’ll be fascinating to see if they get that chance. After all, decisions on Brett Brown‘s future and potential roster changes may hinge in large part on whether or not the club can make a deep postseason run.

Here’s where things stand for the Sixers financially in 2020/21, as we continue our Salary Cap Preview series:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Offseason Cap Outlook

No matter where the cap lands for the 2020/21 season, the Sixers will have a tough time avoiding the luxury tax. A flat cap – with no increase – would result in a tax threshold of $132.6MM; the NBA’s $115MM cap projection called for a $139MM tax line. The 76ers already have more than $142MM in guaranteed money committed for nine players next season, and that number will only increase once the team fills out its roster.

Reducing team salary via a trade is a possibility, but there might not be many clubs looking to take on unwanted contracts this offseason. Philadelphia would have to trim a substantial amount of salary to gain access to the full mid-level exception and bi-annual exception.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,718,000 5
  • Trade exception: $1,882,867 (expires 2/8/21)

Footnotes

  1. This is a projected value. Simmons’ actual maximum salary will be 25% of the cap, unless he makes an All-NBA team, in which case it will be anywhere from 28-30% of the cap.
  2. Korkmaz’ salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 10.
  3. Pelle’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 6.
  4. This is a top-20 protected pick from the Thunder and could theoretically stay with Oklahoma City if it moves to No. 20 or higher when the season resumes. For now, it could also land at No. 21 depending on the result of a random tiebreaker.
  5. This is a projected value.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are based on the salary cap and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.