Chances are, the most promising players in the 2013 NBA Draft will be off the board when Detroit picks at #8. After a disappointing result in the draft lottery, Detroit is not likely to have a shot at Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Otto Po...
Chances are, the most promising players in the 2013 NBA Draft will be off the board when Detroit picks at #8. After a disappointing result in the draft lottery, Detroit is not likely to have a shot at Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Otto Porter or Ben McLemore. While there is value to be found in Detroit's draft range, it's hard to expect this value to match Detroit's primary needs of starting-caliber talent on the wing. The question Detroit's front office will need to examine now is whether this pick has more value on the trade market than it will on draft night. In short, should Detroit trade its #8 pick?
Before we explore a few trade opportunities, we should consider Detroit's needs this year and beyond. Detroit will need to use draft picks, trades and free agent signings to find a starting-caliber point guard, shooting guard and small forward. The team will have the greatest opportunity to make these acquisitions within the next two years, when it has two consecutive cap space windfalls including two large expiring contracts. Unfortunately, Detroit will need to forfeit its lottery pick to Charlotte next season if the team wins a few more games next season, which is a very likely scenario. In total, by trading this pick, Detroit should aim to acquire more picks, preferably including a 2014 first round pick. Detroit should also attempt to use its cap space to absorb salary to facilitate these trades.
Draft Pick Swap Scenarios
Phoenix Suns: Trading Down and Adding Talent
The Phoenix Suns ended the 2012-13 NBA season with a worse record than Detroit. The Suns will have roughly $5M in available salary this summer, with no significant cap savings until 2014. Their only real opportunity to improve this summer is in the draft, and they only have one valuable pick to do so. Detroit's #8 pick and an additional $8M in cap space (for a total of $13M in available salary) would provide Phoenix with greater draft and free agent opportunities-- and combined assets similar to what Houston used last summer to acquire James Harden.
Phoenix Acquires: the #8 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Detroit Acquires: the rights to Miami's #30 pick in 2013, the rights to Minnesota's 2014, 2015 or 2016 lottery pick (top 13, 12 and 12 protected respectively) and Marcin Gortat.
Detroit's gain: Detroit effectively trades the #8 pick for a #30 pick, a #14 pick and the expiring salary of productive big man Marcin Gorat. When Detroit receives the #14 pick will depend largely on when both Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio register a healthy season, which is a risk, but if that doesn't pan out Detroit will end up with two second round picks in 2017. Marcin Gortat has several values for Detroit-- he acts as a financial placeholder that moves $8M in expiring salary to next summer or he becomes a trade asset for deadline deals in February. Gortat is also very productive, a talent worthy of the starting lineup and a great option behind Andre Drummond. If Detroit can sell Gortat into a mid-level deal for a few years after 2013-14, this would be a great way to start that process.
Phoenix's gain: Phoenix adds a second lottery pick in the 2013 draft, adds another $8M in available salary and only gives up pick rights in the process, not their own picks. While Phoenix would likely be reticent to give up Marcin Gortat, they face losing him next summer without a talent return in the process. For the Suns, this move would be an opportunity to explore a larger trade that acquires a top draft pick this year, an All Star caliber player or, at worst, it gives them two picks and enough cap space for a post-rookie max contract.
(I have vetted this trade with the people at SB Nation's Suns blog, who largely support the proposal.)
Dallas Mavericks: Adding Picks and Salary
The Mavericks are apparently interested in trading their #13 pick in the 2013 draft without returning any salary. They are interested in trimming cap space in order to make a run at Dwight Howard in