NBA AM: Teams Seem Open To Trading Their Picks

As the 2017 NBA Draft gets closer, some picks toward the top could be traded.

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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Draft Picks On The Move?

Now that NBA teams have had a few weeks to settle into where they will draft, specifically the top of the draft board, there are a few picks that could be on the move and a few more that are open for discussion if the price is right.

The Top Overall Pick

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge revealed that his team has heard from a “handful” of teams about the top overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. The prevailing thought in NBA circles is the Celtics are keeping the pick. Ainge did admit that his team was exploring what moving the pick could mean, explaining that some of the offers included trading down or possibly trading out of the draft in exchange for a proven veteran.

Ainge was pretty non-committal on where he was leaning but said he was doing his due diligence on all of the Celtics’ options.

Presumptive top pick Markelle Fultz said this week that he had spoken to the Celtics and Ainge a few times by phone and was working on details for a face-to-face meeting and a visit to Boston.

League sources doubted that Boston would be offered enough value to trade out of the top pick, but cautioned that given the Celtics roster construction, Ainge and company don’t necessarily need the player they can obtain with the top pick like most lottery winners.

The smart money says the top pick is staying with Boston. However, Ainge made it clear that he’s open to conversations.

The Wolves Pick At Seven

The prevailing thought in NBA circles is that the Minnesota Timberwolves may have more interest in trading the seventh overall pick for a proven veteran than adding another young guy to the roster.

Sources close to the process in Minnesota say that Wolves president and head coach Tom Thibodeau wants to see real improvement this season and adding more youth may not be the best way to achieve that. The belief is that if offered the right veteran, the Wolves would move the seven.

The problem with getting real value out of the seventh pick depends on who is going to be on the board with the pick, meaning it’s more likely that a deal with the seventh pick happens on draft night as players start to fall into place.

A name to watch in all of this is New York’s Courtney Lee. There has been talk that the Wolves and Knicks could get together on a Lee for Ricky Rubio swap. It’s unclear if the Wolves would include the seventh pick in a deal, but the Wolves seem ready to move on from Rubio and the Knicks continue to be the team mentioned as a likely destination.

The Pistons Pick At 12

Like the Wolves, there is a growing sense that Stan Van Gundy and company don’t want to add another young guy to a roster that seems to be moving backward.

While the 2017 NBA Draft is a very deep draft, the talent level drops off pretty significantly right around the Pistons pick, making it less likely to return a serious player. But it’s something the Pistons are said to be exploring.

It’s not out of the question the Pistons keep the pick, but the prevailing belief from other teams is the 12th pick could be had and that the Pistons are open to moving other roster parts too, mainly in an effort to re-make the team and infuse the team with more developed competitors.

Van Gundy is entering the fourth season of a five-year deal, so his runway won’t be unlimited, especially if the team continues to be middling.

It seems the Pistons are one of the teams to watch as the draft process plays out.

All Of The 76ers Second Rounders

Sixers president Bryan Colangelo has made it pretty clear that all of his second round picks could be had and that message seems to be resonating in NBA circles. The problem for the Sixers is they don’t need the cash that typically changes hands with deals involving second round picks, so what do they get in return?

The Sixers still have usable cap space, so they can still take on salary around the draft. The Sixers will also have ample space when free agency opens, so they can always draft a player for another team and trade that player’s rights in July, as well.

What’s becoming clear as the draft process plays out is that the Sixers don’t want four more young guys on the roster, and given how much they have stashed elsewhere, they look ready to make a deal or three.

In talking with league executives this week, there is a sense that this particular draft class does not have many surprises. While teams will receive the full medical reports from the NBA Draft Combine in the coming days, most of the players that have worked out for teams have delivered as advertised, which is pretty rare in a draft class.

Several teams commented that after several workouts they have not been very surprised by any one player and that very few have been disappointing.

This is a big week for teams as most are in California for agent-run pro days before heading off to Treviso for the annual Eurocamp.

The top players in the draft are expected to start face-to-face meetings and workouts next week, so more will be known on where things may really land, and that too could fuel the trade market if teams start to believe they won’t get their guy, especially later in the draft.

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Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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