Welcome back from Memorial Day Weekend! The NBA Draft Lottery is Wednesday, and thanks to a benevolent coin flip, the Golden State Warriors have 72 percent odds of keeping their pick. In the event that a team in the No. 8 position or lower leaps into the top three, the Warriors would lose the pick to the Utah Jazz.
The Warriors do not really like those odds, and according to ESPN's Marc Stein, have engaged in trade talks with the Jazz to ensure Golden State keeps the pick. Yes, the Warriors are going to potentially give up an asset to eliminate the 1-in-4 chance they lose the No. 8 pick in the draft.
It's a brilliant decision for both sides.
It does not appear that players will change hands -- Stein reports that a future pick or relaxation of conditions on the pick in question are in the offing. Currently, if the Warriors keep the pick this year, it would go to the Jazz in 2013 unless it lands in the top seven, and in 2014 unless it lands in the top six.
With Andrew Bogut and a healthy Stephen Curry plus a second season for Klay Thompson, the Warriors would not expect to be again flirting with a top-7 pick. (Even this season, without Bogut and Curry, Golden State had to tank to get there.) So the difference between guaranteeing the pick at No. 3 or higher or at No. 7 or higher is small -- there's little chance Golden State lands in position to have the 4th, 5th or 6th pick unless things go horribly, horribly wrong.
For Utah: if you can get an asset out of what is currently a crap shoot, why not? Even if the looser protections on a 2013 or 2014 pick don't amount to much, they could help the picks' value on the market, no small matter for a playoff team looking for guard and wing help.
Close readers may wonder why I like this deal but hated the Nets' trade of a protected 2012 pick: this is a wonderful draft, and a player picked No. 6-8 in 2012 will help Brooklyn a lot more than a short-term rental of Gerald Wallace, assuming that Deron Williams isn't so unbelievably fond of Gerald Wallace that he signs on. (I tend to think Brooklyn had a very strong chance of keeping D-Will before the Wallace trade.)