The Houston Rockets agreed to trade Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans for a 2015 first-round pick on Wednesday night, but there are some weird protections on the pick, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
The pick will only go to the Rockets next season if it falls between No. 4 and No. 19. This means there's a relatively good chance Houston will indeed cash in on the pick next season.
With Asik set to be in the fold, the Pelicans stand to be a solid team next year. Asik and Anthony Davis will make for quite the imposing defensive frontcourt while the backcourt has talent in Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon. Ryan Anderson is a bit of a wild card coming back from a serious neck injury. All of these players might not be on the roster to start next season, but at the very least there's some good talent in place.
But is that team good enough to make the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference? If everything goes right, perhaps New Orleans sneaks in at the back end of the playoff picture. In that case, the Pelicans may be able to keep the pick. The Dallas Mavericks (the No. 8 seed in the West this past year) would have had the No. 21 pick in the draft if it wasn't going to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
However, it's still more likely that New Orleans misses the playoffs next season. In that case, it's almost certain that Houston would get the pick, because it's hard to see the Pelicans getting a top three selection in 2015. That would either mean an absolute disaster of a season or some incredible luck in the lottery.
If the Pelicans do keep the 2015 pick, it's unclear whether the Rockets will have the opportunity to acquire a pick in a future year.