Sometimes, that sweetener comes in the form of $3 million in cash.
Other times, a future draft pick or two can even things out in the minds of the men making the deal.
With the NBA trade deadline is now 10 days away, cellphone minutes are being burned at this very moment as teams try to maneuver the moves that will either put them over the top or add to the rebuilding assets they are trying to accumulate.
There are lottery-bound teams that have old debts to settle, as well as playoff-contending teams that have extra draft picks stashed. When you throw those factors into the mix, you start to get the feeling that trades will be easier to make.
You want a future first-round pick that originally belonged to the Bobcats? There’s one out there.
You want multiple future second-round picks? Call David Kahn in Minnesota. Or Masai Ujiri in Denver. Or Chris Grant in Cleveland. All three guys are loaded with them.
Here are the top 12 future draft pick assets that may come into play by the time March 15 rolls around.
1. The Chicago Bulls own one of Charlotte’s future first-round picks. The Bobcats aren’t going to be any good any time soon, but eventually they are going to have to fork over a first-round pick as a result of the trade in 2010 that sent Tyrus Thomas from the Bulls to the Bobcats for Acie Law and Flip Murray. The pick is lottery protected in 2012, 1-12 protected in 2013, 1-10 protected in 2014 and 1-8 protected in 2015 before becoming unprotected in 2016. It is the secret stash in Gar Forman’s piggy bank that could help the Bulls upgrade one of their current assets and make them a bigger threat than they already are to beat out the Miami Heat for the Eastern Conference title.
2. The Houston Rockets own the New York Knicks’ first-round pick (provided it is not a Top 5 pick) in the 2012 draft. The Rockets also will have their own pick unless they make the playoffs, in which case they must convey their pick to the New Jersey Nets — a protection stipulation that lasts until 2016, when the Rockets — if they have failed to make the playoffs for five straight seasons — must give the Nets get $200,000 plus the Rockets’ second-round pick in 2017. The Rockets also own Minnesota’s 2012 second-round pick, but they owe the Detroit Pistons their own 2012 second-round pick and the Atlanta Hawks a future second-round pick (top 40 protected in 2013, 2014 and 2015, unprotected in 2016.)
3. The Denver Nuggets own the rights to New York’s first-round pick in 2014, provided the Knicks send their 2012 pick to Houston. The Nuggets also own Golden State’s second-round picks in 2012 and 2013, which the Knicks acquired in the David Lee sign-and-trade and then shipped to the Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony deal. The Nuggets also have the right to swap 2012 second-round picks with Portland, and they own the rights to the Trail Blazers’ 2013 (top 40 protected) or 2014 second-round pick. Denver must send its own 2013 second-round pick (top 40 protected) or its 2014 second-round pick to the Lakers.
4. The Utah Jazz own the rights to Golden State’s first-round draft pick in 2012, unless it is a top 7 pick. The protection on the pick drops to Top 6 in 2013 and 2014. The Nets once had the rights to this pick but sent it to Utah in the Deron Williams acquisition. Utah also owns the rights to New Jersey’s 2015 second-round pick.
5. The Boston Celtics own the rights to the Clippers’ 2012 first-round draft pick, unless it is a Top 10 pick (the top 10 protection lasts through 2015, after which the pick becomes unprotected.) The Celtics acquired the rights to this pick from Oklahoma City in the Kendrick Perkins trade. They also have the Nets’ 2014 second-round pick.
6. The Cleveland Cavaliers own the rights to Sacramento’s 2012 first round draft pick (lottery protected, with protection dropping to 1-13 in 2013, 1-12 in 2014 and 1-10 in 2015-17), Miami’s 2013 and 2015 first-round draft picks (top 10 protected), Oklahoma City’s 2012 second-round draft pick, the New Orleans Hornets’ 2012 second-round draft pick, and the Orlando Magic’s 2014 second-round pick.
7. The Minnesota Timberwolves own the right to Utah’s 2012 first-round pick (lottery protected), or Utah’s 2013 first-round pick (Top 12 protected). If both the 2012 and 2013 picks are protected, Minnesota then has the right to swap picks with Utah in 2014 or get Utah’s second-round pick in 2014. Minnesota also owns Memphis’ first-round pick in 2013 (lottery protected through 2016), Oklahoma City’s second-round picks in 2012 and 2013, the New Orleans Hornets’ second-round pick in 2014, and Denver’s second round-pick in 2015. The Wolves also have some debts to pay. Their own second-round pick in 2013 is owed to Boston, and Minnesota’s own 2015 second-round pick or Denver’ second-round pick in 2015 (whichever is the least favorable) is owed to Portland.
8. The Los Angeles Lakers own the Dallas Mavericks‘ first-round pick in the first year between now and 2017 in which it is not a Top 20 pick. The pick becomes unconditional in 2018.
9. The Charlotte Bobcats own the rights to Portland’s 2013 first-round draft pick (top 12 protected through 2015, unprotected thereafter).
10. The Mavericks own the Lakers’ 2012 second-round pick and the right to swap second-round picks in 2013. But the the Washington Wizards own the Dallas Mavericks’ 2012 second-round pick, as well as the New York Knicks’ 2013 second-round pick.
11. The Los Angeles Clippers own the right to the New Orleans Hornets’ 2015 second-round pick and Memphis’ 2015 second-round pick.
12. The Philadelphia 76ers own the rights to Memphis’ 2012 second-round pick and New Orleans’ 2013 second-round pick.