Assessing second-round and future picks
First a primer on the league’s rules regarding the trade of draft picks. As I cover in the CBA FAQ, teams may trade their draft picks up to seven years in the future (the Seven Year rule), and are allowed to protect picks based upon their position. For example, a first round pick that is protected 1-14 will be kept if the team ends up in the lottery and conveyed if the team makes the playoffs (receiving a pick from 15 to 30).
Pick protection may extend for multiple years, so a pick might be protected 1-14 this year, 1-10 in 2014, 1-3 in 2015, and be unprotected in 2016. Such a pick would be conveyed in the first year it falls outside the protected range. The pick must already be in the trading team’s possession at the time of the trade -- for example, a team can’t trade the lesser of any pick in the team’s possession on the date of the 2016 draft, and subsequently acquire a lower pick to send.
Pick protection must be structured in a way that ensures the Seven Year rule is not violated. For example, a team can lottery-protect its pick for up to six years, but in the seventh year must convey the pick unconditionally or send something else in lieu of the pick, such as second round picks or cash.
The Ted Stepien rule (named after the former owner of the Cavs who engineered a series of disastrous trades, including the one that resulted in James Worthy becoming a Laker) restricts teams from trading first round picks in future consecutive years. For example, if a team trades its 2013 pick it cannot trade its 2014 pick until after the 2013 draft (when the 2013 pick is no longer a future pick).
The combination of the Seven Year rule, pick protection and the Ted Stepien rule often results in draft pick trades that are extraordinarily complex, as I described in this article discussing the Clippers’ trade of the draft pick that became Kyrie Irving. As we’ll see below, many aspects of the Orlando trade for Dwight Howard depend on what happens to the picks the Lakers send to the Suns as part of the Steve Nash trade.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the Lakers’ second round picks in 2013. Here are the trades that affect the Lakers in the second round of this year’s draft:
February 18, 2009: The Lakers send Chris Mihm to the Memphis Grizzlies for a protected 2013 second-round pick.
Remember Chris Mihm? He played five seasons with the Lakers, but was injured for much of his tenure. At the time of the trade he was a shadow of his former self, averaging 2.0 points and 1.9 rebounds in 5.8 minutes per game. The trade was essentially a giveaway in order to get Mihm off the Lakers’ books, as reflected in the pick protection -- it is top-55 protected, so Memphis keeps it unless it is one of the last five picks in the draft. If the pick isn’t conveyed this year, then the Grizzlies don’t owe the Lakers anything.
December 11, 2011: The Lakers trade Lamar Odom and a 2012 second round pick to the Dallas Mavericks for future draft considerations.
In this trade the Lakers sent away Odom (who asked out after being included in the aborted Chris Paul trade) and what turned out to be the 55th pick in the 2011 draft. The pick was used to select Darius Johnson-Odom, whom the Lakers reacquired for cash in a subsequent trade. The Lakers received a first round draft pick (protected 1-20 through 2017 and unprotected in 2018) which they later sent to Houston along with Derek Fisher in exchange for Jordan Hill. Dallas also received the right to swap its 2013 second round pick with the Lakers’ second round pick.
In summary, while the Lakers won’t have a first round pick in this June’s draft, they will have the lesser of their own and Dallas’ second round pick, and also will have Memphis’ pick if it’s one of the bottom five.
Shifting our focus to future years, the following trades affect the Lakers’ draft picks:
July 11, 2012: The Lakers traded a 2013 first round pick, a 2015 first round pick, two second round picks and cash to Phoenix for Steve Nash.
In the trade, which brought Steve Nash to LA and ensured that the Lakers will not have a first round pick in this year’s draft, the team also sent a future first round pick and two second round picks to the Suns. The first round pick will be conveyed no sooner than 2015 due to the Ted Stepien rule. It is protected 1-5 in 2015, protected 1-3 in 2016 and 2017, and unprotected in 2018.
The Lakers will also give the Suns the second round pick it acquired from the Denver Nuggets in 2011 for Chukwudiebere Maduabum, which is top-40 protected in 2013 and unprotected in 2014. Finally, the Lakers own 2014 pick goes to Minnesota, after the Suns subsequently traded it to the Timberwolves.
August 10, 2012: In a four-team trade, the Lakers acquired Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from Orlando, sending out Andrew Bynum, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts, a future first round pick and a future second round pick.
The first round pick can be conveyed no sooner than 2017, and no sooner than two years following the conveyance of the pick to Phoenix due to the Ted Stepien rule. It is also protected 1-4 in 2017 and 2018, and unprotected in 2019.
Since the Phoenix pick may not be conveyed until 2018, and the Lakers could not trade their 2020 pick due to the Seven Year rule, the first round pick to Orlando is replaced with second round picks in 2017 and 2018 if Phoenix doesn’t get its pick by 2017.
The second round pick is protected top-40 in 2015. If the Lakers keep this pick then they no longer owe the Magic a second round pick.
Putting it all together, the Lakers’ future draft obligations read as follows:
*2013: Whatever first round pick the Lakers end up with will go to Phoenix. It will have the lesser of its own and Dallas’ second round picks, and will have Memphis’ second round pick if it falls 56-60.
*2014: The Lakers will have their own first round pick, but will not have a second round pick.
*2015: The Lakers will have their own first round pick if it is in the top five, otherwise it will go to Phoenix. The Lakers will keep their second round pick if it’s 31-40, otherwise it goes to Orlando.
*2016: The Lakers will have their own first round pick if they sent their 2015 pick to Phoenix or the pick is 1-5, otherwise it goes to Phoenix. They have their own second round pick.
*2017: This pick goes to Phoenix if the Lakers haven’t already sent a pick to the Suns and it’s not in the top three. If they sent a pick to Phoenix in 2015 then this pick goes to Orlando if it’s not in the top five -- otherwise they keep it. If the Lakers don’t send a first round pick to Phoenix by 2017 then Orlando gets the Lakers’ 2017 second round pick; otherwise the Lakers keep it.
*2018: If the Lakers haven’t yet given Phoenix a first round pick then the Suns get it unconditionally. If the Lakers sent a first round pick to Phoenix by 2016, haven’t yet sent a pick to Orlando, and the pick is not in the top five, then Orlando gets it, otherwise the Lakers keep it. If the Lakers don’t send a first round pick to Phoenix by 2017 then Orlando gets the Lakers’ 2018 second round pick, otherwise the Lakers keep it.
*2019: If the Lakers sent a first round pick to Phoenix by 2017 and Orlando has not received a first round pick then Orlando gets their first round pick, otherwise the Lakers keep it. The Lakers have their own second round pick.