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NBA PM: Trades Impacting The NBA’s Draft Lottery

The Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard trades from years prior are just two of several previous trades impacting tonight’s draft lottery.

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Trades Impacting The NBA’s Draft Lottery

The day that some teams have been waiting well over a year for is finally here. It’s Draft Lottery night and a little after 8 p.m. ET we will officially know the order for the 2014 NBA Draft. This is one of the most highly anticipated draft classes in recent memory, making spots at the top quite coveted. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid – the projected top-three picks overall – are viewed as potential franchise players, while there’s a handful of players in the second tier, like Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and Noah Vonleh to name a few, who will also make teams feel like they’re walking away as one of the winners of the draft as well if they land them.

In today’s AM Report, Steve Kyler broke down what each team with a realistic chance to win the lottery would do if the ping pong balls bounce in their favor. At the conclusion of the lottery, Basketball Insiders will put out a lottery mock draft reflecting the impact the lottery has on the draft boards. In further preparation for tonight’s Draft Lottery, we take a look back at some of the trades that are going to have an impact on it, and those that would have if certain protections weren’t in place.

Draft debts being deferred

Philadelphia 76ers’ first-round pick to the Miami HEAT. From trade of Arnett Moultrie from Miami to Philadelphia in exchange for Justin Hamilton and pick on draft night 2012.

The pick is top-14 protected through next year and is now owed to the Boston Celtics as a part of the three-team trade on January 15 that sent Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to Golden State, Joel Anthony and the pick to Boston and Toney Douglas to Miami. If the pick falls within the protection range again next year, a safe bet considering that the 76ers are only one year into a complete and total overhaul, they owe Boston second-round picks in 2015 and 2016 instead. At the time, Moultrie seemed like a safe gamble for the 76ers to risk losing a first-round pick for, but through two seasons he’s failed to carve out a niche for himself on the team. He’s played in just 59 games with career averages of three points and three rebounds. He was also suspended this past season for a third failed drug test for marijuana. Hamilton is currently on the HEAT roster after a very successful stint in the D-League. He has not played in the playoffs yet, though.

Sacramento Kings’ first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers. From trade of J.J. Hickson from Cleveland to Sacramento for Omri Casspi and the pick on June 30, 2011.

The Cavaliers finally gave up on ever getting this pick from the Kings, trading it this season to the Chicago Bulls in a deal that helped them acquire Luol Deng. Without it, they may have been stuck paying Andrew Bynum $6 million for only a handful of games and far more trouble than production. The protection beyond this season is top 10 through 2017, then the debt only becomes a second round pick. Hickson didn’t last a full season with the Kings before being waived. He jump started his career afterward, but as the Kings look determined to get out of the lottery by next season, it comes with the price of losing their pick to the Bulls. On the bright side for the Kings, Casspi has only been a fringe rotation player since the deal, so there’s no regrets from that side of it. There’s not as much pressure for the Bulls to turn the pick into something great after the team finished strong without Deng. If it does, though, that would help restore a lot of the good faith their front office has lost in the public.

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Detroit Pistons’ first-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets. From trade of Corey Maggette from Charlotte to Detroit for Ben Gordon and the pick on June 26, 2012.

Theoretically the Pistons could end up conveying this pick if they’re leap frogged by any of the six teams drafting behind them because it is only top-eight protected. However, the chances are miniscule. The ninth-slated Cavaliers only have a 2.41 percent chance of getting into the top three, and the odds decrease from there for the others. Losing a top-eight pick to those odds would be a horrific start for Stan Van Gundy’s tenure as the head coach and president of basketball operations, but it’s pretty safe to say they’re going to keep it. Van Gundy can’t bank on adding another lottery pick next year, though, because it’s only top-1 protected. The Hornets won this deal far and away as Maggette never became a serious contributor for the Pistons. Gordon averaged 11 points for the Hornets in his first season with the team in 2012-13. His role and productivity dwindled this season, but his contract is coming off of the books and they still have that first rounder coming their way, unless of course they get it this year, which would make it even better considering the Pistons’ project to be much better next season.

Minnesota Timberwolves’ first round pick to the Phoenix Suns. From the three-team trade that sent Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick from Phoenix to New Orleans, Wesley Johnson and the pick from Minnesota to Phoenix and Jerome Dyson and Brad Miller from New Orleans to Minnesota.

Barring the .72 percent chance that the Suns have to get into the top three, the Timberwolves are going to luck out and hold onto their pick. This season was a real disappointment for them, so to lose out their lottery pick in a deep draft like this would have made the in-season struggles all the more difficult to look back on. This trade was done on the Timberwolves’ end to create the necessary cap space to sign Andrei Kirilenko. Giving up on Johnson was admission of another draft gaff by former general manager David Kahn, who selected him over DeMarcus Cousins. The Suns, with three first-round picks including their own already coming their way this year, have no shortage of selections. However, there has to be a bit of concern with Kevin Love reportedly wanting out of Minnesota that they may not see a first rounder from the deal. It’s top 12 protected through 2016, becoming two second-round picks (2016 and 2017) afterwards. The selection of Johnson continues to haunt the Timberwolves. Imagine how much different of a place they’re in as a franchise if they had Cousins instead.

Picks likely/sure to be conveyed

New Orleans Pelicans first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. From trade of Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson from Philadelphia to New Orleans for Nerlens Noel and the pick.

The pick is top-five protected. With a 1.58 percent chance of getting into the top three, it’s basically as good as gone for the Pelicans. They were clearly in win-now mode when making this transaction, but they’re back in the lottery after being hit hard by the injury bug for most of the season. With the emergence of Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel still yet to play his first game in the NBA, they’re almost certainly not regretting that part of the deal. Even with losing another first-round pick this year, it’s not every day that you get a chance to acquire an All-Star point guard like Holiday. This was the first imprint 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie made on the team. They went on to acquire the eventual Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams, so as long as Holiday can stay healthy and help lead the Pelicans back to the playoffs next season, this stands to be a deal that both teams are happy with once it’s officially completed. That doesn’t happen often with deals of this magnitude.

New York Knicks first round pick to the Denver Nuggets. Part of 13-player, three-team trade between the Nuggets, Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves on August 10. The Nuggets received the pick, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos, Corey Brewer and additional draft considerations. The Timberwolves received Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and cash considerations. The Knicks received Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams, Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony.

This pick is actually headed to the Orlando Magic as a part of the Nuggets’ debt to them from the Dwight Howard trade. If Andre Iguodala, who they acquired along with the pick, was still on the roster, losing the pick would not hurt so much. However, Iguodala left the following offseason for Golden State. The Nuggets do still have their own lottery pick, which is a selection higher than the Knicks’. They were always going to keep the higher of the two due to the language in the trade. If the Knicks re-sign Anthony this offseason, the lottery pick is an easy price to pay. If not, it’s another asset lost in a trade that acquired them the superstar they coveted, but never yielded more than a second-round playoff appearance. Meanwhile, the Magic continue to be in good shape just two years after trading Dwight Howard. They look poised to take a big leap forward next season and their second lottery pick from this deal could be a big reason why they do so. It could have been the Nuggets with two picks, but these are the risks you take to be great in the NBA.

Check out our draft pick debt section for a complete look at all the draft picks owed!

Behind the Scenes of the Lottery

Need more to help you kill time before the start of the lottery? Check out this behind the scenes video below:

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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