First-round draft picks are generally considered too valuable to surrender in today’s NBA. Smart teams are slow to put them in trades, teams try to stockpiles them, and nobody sells them off. Well, not nobody, the Pistons sold the No. 30 pick last year to the Cavaliers (who selected Kevin Porter Jr.). Before that you have to go back to 2013, when Denver sold the 27th pick to Utah, which selected Rudy Gobert. (In both of those cases second-round picks were included.)
Like everything else in American life, the coronavirus and its impacts could change that trend.
Because of the financial hit owners have taken, both with their NBA teams and other businesses, some could sell their picks in what is generally considered a rather “meh” draft. Brian Windhorst wrote about it at ESPN.
“I suspect first-round picks will be for sale in this draft,” one team executive said. “We haven’t really seen that in a decade.”
First-round picks are cost-controlled by the rookie scale, making them a value if teams draft a player that can contribute. It could be short-sighted to sell, however, the financial pressures on some owners and teams will have them considering a sale.
Much as it has in the rest of society, the coronavirus’ impact on the NBA could highlight the disparity between the have and have-not teams. Who can buy and who can sell picks will tell you a lot.
The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery is set for Aug. 20, with the 2020 NBA Draft itself on Oct. 16.