Inside the Numbers: Celtics Current Draft Rights Status

By Michael Zarren
Celtics.com
April 20, 2006

With the regular season over, Celtics fans turn their eyes to the 2006 NBA Draft, which will take place on June 28. With this in mind, and since the draft has been key to the Celtics' team-building over the last two years (e.g., #15 Al Jefferson, #18 Gerald Green, #24 Delonte West, #25 Tony Allen, #50 Ryan Gomes and #53 Orien Greene), here is a summary of the Celtics' current draft rights status for this year and future years:

2006 NBA Draft

First Round:
  • Barring any future trades, the only first-round pick we'll have this year is our own pick. Via the NBA Draft Lottery, this pick could be as high as the #1 pick, or as low as the #10 pick, but is most likely to be the #7 pick, depending on the outcome of the Draft Lottery. Regardless of the outcome of the drawing, however, with a tie for the sixth-lowest record in the league, the Celtics have approximately a 17% chance of obtaining one of the top three picks. (We could also end up with a pick worse than #7 if a team with a better record than the Celtics wins one of the top 3 picks, pushing all the other teams down.)
  • Some online commentators suggested earlier in the year that there was a chance for us to receive the Lakers' first-round pick if it fell between number 10 and number 14, but this was incorrect; the rights we had to this pick were sent to Atlanta as part of the Antoine Walker/Gary Payton trade without any additional protection, and Atlanta has since sent this pick on to Phoenix as part of the Joe Johnson trade. As a result, the Celtics only have our own first-round pick this year.
  • Whether or not we have a second-round pick will depend on the draft lottery. We are entitled to Golden State's second-round pick, as long as it does not fall in the top 8 second-round picks, pursuant to the Walter McCarty trade. The Warriors currently have the #38 pick, but should they move ahead of Houston in the first-round via the draft lottery, Golden State and Houston (which currently has #39) will exchange second-round picks, pursuant to a league rule regarding teams tied at the end of the regular season (whichever picks first in the first round picks second in the second round). Therefore, if Golden State moves ahead of Houston, we will receive their pick. Either way, we are required to send one second round pick this year to the Timberwolves, as part of the Ricky Davis/Wally Szczerbiak trade. As a result, if Golden State does not move ahead of Houston via the lottery, we will send our own pick to Minnesota, and not have a second-round pick this year. If Golden State does move ahead of Houston, we will send their pick to Minnesota, and retain our own second-round pick this year. If so, this pick is likely to be #36 but could become #37 if we move up past Minnesota in the first round via the lottery.

2007 NBA Draft

  • The Celtics have our own 2007 first-round pick, and will likely receive Cleveland's 2007 first-round pick pursuant to the Jiri Welsch trade (though this pick is "protected" and will be forwarded to a future year if Cleveland finishes with one of the ten worst records in the league in 2007).
  • - We also have our own second-round pick, and if we did not receive it this year (see above) will also receive Golden State's 2007 second-round pick pursuant to the Walter McCarty trade with Phoenix (who acquired this pick from Golden State in a prior trade involving Zarko Cabarkapa).
  • - At one time the Celtics held Miami's 2007 second-round pick, as part of the Antoine Walker sign-and-trade deal, but this pick was sent to Minnesota as part of the Ricky Davis/Wally Szczerbiak trade.

Future Drafts

  • Aside from our own picks, the Celtics are likely entitled to receive a future first-round pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Due to a league rule prohibiting teams from ever placing themselves in a situation where two consecutive future first-round picks have been traded away, the Celtics cannot receive the first round pick the Timberwolves owe from the Ricky Davis/Wally Szczerbiak trade until two years after the Timberwolves send a pick to the Clippers (from the Sam Cassell/Marko Jaric trade). However, because the Clippers trade involved top 10 "protection," Minnesota only has to send the pick to the Clippers if the pick falls outside the top 10 picks in the draft. Therefore, in future years, Celtics fans should be rooting for Minnesota to win (when, of course, they're not playing against the Celtics) until the Timberwolves finish a season out of the bottom ten, and send their pick to the Clippers. Two years after this occurs, the Timberwolves will send their first-round pick to the Celtics, subject to some "protection" which decreases annually after the first year in which we could receive the pick.*
  • The situation is further complicated by a league rule that prevents any deals being made involving drafts more than 7 drafts into the future; as a result the Celtics cannot receive Minnesota's pick after the 2012 draft, since the Ricky/Wally trade was made before the 2006 draft. Therefore, if the Timberwolves do not send a pick to the Clippers by the end of the 2010 draft, the Celtics will be unable to receive the Timberwolves' first-round pick in 2012, and will instead receive a second-round pick in 2012.

Summary

So here is a quick summary of the draft pick rights currently held by the Celtics:

  • 2006: Celtics' first-round pick, and, if Golden State moves ahead of Houston via the lottery, Celtics' second-round pick.
  • 2007: Celtics' first-round and second-round picks; Golden State's second-round pick if we did not receive it in 2006, and likely Cleveland's first-round pick.
  • Future drafts: Celtics' first-round and second-round picks, and one Minnesota first-round pick, two years after the Timberwolves send a pick to the Clippers (where both the Timberwolves/Clippers transaction and the Timberwolves/Celtics transaction involve some future "protection"), assuming the Timberwolves send a pick to the Clippers sometime before the end of the 2010 draft.

Obviously, since the draft has played such an important part in constructing the current Celtics team, Danny Ainge and the rest of our staff continue to study all options involving our draft picks - we hope this article gives you some idea as to how complicated these options can be!

Further, the draft is by no means certain to provide an addition to any team. For more details on how difficult it has been to select successful players in past NBA drafts, stay tuned for another "Inside the Numbers" column, prior to draft day...

Michael Zarren is the Celtics' Basketball Operations Analyst, responsible for assisting team decision making through the use of quantitative and legal analyses.

* For those die-hard draft fans who want all the details, here's how the protection on this pick works: If the Timberwolves send a pick to the Clippers in 2007, we receive the Timberwolves' pick in 2009 if it falls outside of the top 14, in 2010 if it falls outside of the top 5, in 2011 if it falls outside of the top 3, or in 2012 unconditionally. If the Timberwolves send a pick to the Clippers in 2008, we receive the Timberwolves' pick in 2010 if it falls outside of the top 14, in 2011 if it falls outside of the top 5, or in 2012 unconditionally. If the Timberwolves send a pick to the Clippers in 2009, we receive the Timberwolves' pick in 2011 if it falls outside the top 14, or in 2012 unconditionally. Finally, if the Timberwolves send a pick to the Clippers in 2010, we receive the Timberwolves' pick in 2012 unconditionally.

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