Nba Protected Picks

NBA Protected Picks: Understanding the Trade Mechanism

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of NBA, protected picks have become a crucial aspect of team management and planning. Whether it be lottery picks or future draft assets, NBA teams are constantly juggling between making the most of their current roster and securing their future.

But what exactly are protected picks, and how do they work?

Protected Picks: An Overview

Protected picks refer to draft picks that come with certain conditions and limitations that can alter the value of the pick. These limitations may vary depending on the situation, but they are typically applied to serve the interests of both trading parties.

One common example of a protected pick is a lottery-protected pick. In this scenario, a team may offer its first-round draft pick to acquire a player from another team. However, if that pick falls within the top 14 selections, the team retains it.

Similarly, a team may offer a protected pick that becomes less valuable over time. For instance, a top-10 protected pick for the upcoming draft may become a top-5 protected pick the following year, and a fully unprotected pick the year after that.

Protected picks allow teams to balance their short-term and long-term goals while providing flexibility in their roster building strategies.

How Do Protected Picks Affect Trades?

Protected picks can significantly impact trade negotiations and player acquisitions. When a team is offering a protected pick, it is essentially making a conditional trade offer. The receiving team will only receive the pick if it meets the agreed-upon conditions.

For example, if a team is offering a lottery-protected pick, the receiving team will know that they will only receive the pick if it falls outside of the top 14 selections. This uncertainty can make the trade negotiation more challenging, as it requires both parties to weigh the risks and benefits of the deal carefully.

Protected picks can also alter the value of the trade offer. A team that offers a guaranteed lottery pick may entice another team to part with a star player or a valuable asset. However, if that pick is lottery-protected, the value of the offer decreases, and the team may need to include additional picks, players, or a combination of both to make the deal work.

Protected picks can also come in handy for rebuilding teams or teams that are trying to shed salary. By offering a protected pick, they can entice other teams to take on large contracts or underperforming players while providing themselves with extra protection in the draft.

Overall, protected picks can be a valuable tool for NBA teams to shore up their rosters and plan for the future.

The Significance of Protected Picks in NBA History

Protected picks have played a significant role in several blockbuster trades in NBA history. One of the most notable examples occurred in 2013 when the Boston Celtics traded Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for five players and three future draft picks.

The picks included a 2014 first-round pick, a 2016 first-round pick, and a 2018 first-round pick. However, each of these picks had various protections that made the trade more complex.

The 2014 pick was unprotected, meaning that the Celtics would receive it regardless of where it fell. However, the 2016 and 2018 picks were both lottery-protected, meaning that the Nets would keep the picks if they fell within the top 14 selections.

The trade was ultimately considered one of the most significant in NBA history, altering the fortunes of both teams in the years that followed.


Protected picks have become a crucial aspect of NBA team management, enabling teams to balance their short-term and long-term goals. Whether it be lottery-protected picks or picks that become less valuable over time, these conditional trade offers can significantly impact trade negotiations and roster-building strategies.

While they can make trade negotiations more complicated, protected picks offer flexibility and protection for teams looking to acquire valuable assets and plan for their future.

As the NBA continues to evolve, protected picks will undoubtedly play a vital role in the game’s strategies and player transactions.