The 2014 NBA Draft is unique in that so many picks have been traded away over the years. Exactly half of the league has dealt its 2014 first-round pick elsewhere, a staggering number. Some of these deals paid off, but many others were ill-conceived. All trade transactions had conditions by which the trading team could keep their pick ... for now.
Most of those 15 teams will not be picking in the lottery. However, there are four picks in particular that could change hands depending on how the ping-pong balls fall.
The Pistons technically convey their pick to the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets as part of a sad 2012 deal involving Corey Maggette and Ben Gordon. In an attempt to get cap space a year earlier, Detroit surrendered this future pick and Gordon to Charlotte for Maggette. The two players had similar contracts, but Maggette's ended a year earlier. Detroit used that additional cap space to sign ... Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. Whoops!
However, it's likely Detroit keeps that selection for now. The pick remains theirs if it falls in the top eight, and Detroit has the league's eighth-worst record. The only way they'd give Charlotte the selection is if one of the teams below them leaps into the top three, and there is a slim chance that happens. The pick would then roll over to 2015, when the Hornets would get it unless Detroit finishes with the No. 1 overall pick.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
The Pelicans finished with the league's 10th-worst record, but must convey their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers unless they finish in the top five. This is because of last year's big draft-day move for Jrue Holiday. The Pelicans surrendered last year's No. 6 pick in Nerlens Noel and this year's pick, top-five protected, to the 76ers. Holiday ended up producing numbers similar to his All-Star campaign in 2013 before being sidelined for the season in January with a stress injury in his leg. New Orleans was hoping for a playoff season when they made the deal, but injuries derailed that chance and they were too good to tank to stay in the top five late in the year.
The Pelicans have only a 3-percent chance of moving into the top three, so it is almost certain that they will be giving up that pick.
NEW YORK KNICKS
You'll be stunned to learn that the Knicks do not possess their own draft pick, though in this case, the reasoning makes sense. New York originally sent this pick to the Denver Nuggets in the 2011 deal for Carmelo Anthony. It then changed hands again one year later in the blockbuster Dwight Howard trade. Orlando received the pick as part of the deal, while the Nuggets got Andre Iguodala from the 76ers.
However, the Nuggets' own presence in the lottery makes this situation complicated. When dealing the pick away, Denver attached a stipulation: It would receive the most favorable of the Denver/New York picks and Orlando would receive the least favorable of the two. (Magic fans have even coined an acronym for the pick they'll eventually receive). Denver currently is in line to receive the No. 11 pick, while the Knicks would pick 12th if they still had their selection.
Thus, barring a surprising move up in the lottery by either team, Denver will pick 11th and Orlando will pick 12th.
NBA Mock Draft
NBA Mock Draft
There is a 98-percent chance the Timberwolves will keep their pick and a similar chance that it will be the 13th selection. However, if the Phoenix Suns somehow move up to the top three, Minnesota will fall to 14th and convey their pick to ... the Suns, ironically. This selection was dealt to Phoenix in 2012 in a three-team deal that brought Robin Lopez to New Orleans and Wes Johnson to Phoenix. However, it goes back to Minnesota if it picks in the top 13 this year.
In 2015 and 2016, the pick is top-12 protected. If the Timberwolves are in the high lottery again the next two years, Phoenix will receive Minnesota's second-round pick in 2016 and 2017.
Two other teams have sent their picks away in trades, but they are guaranteed to roll over to the future.
- Philadelphia's pick was sent to the Heat and then Celtics via a series of trades, but it is lottery protected and the 76ers were obviously one of the worst teams in the league this season. If the 76ers are again in the lottery next season, the Celtics will receive Philadelphia's second-round picks in 2015 and 2016.
- Sacramento's selection was originally dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers way back in 2011 in an ill-fated move for J.J. Hickson. However, it was protected in the top 14 in 2012, top 13 in 2013 and top 12 this season, and Sacramento has yet to escape the high lottery since the deal, so they will keep the selection. Cleveland then traded this conditional pick away last January to acquire Luol Deng from the Bulls. Chicago will receive the pick if the Kings avoid finishing in the top 10 in any of the next three seasons. If that somehow doesn't happen, Chicago will acquire Cleveland's 2017 second-round pick.