« New Orleans Pelicans Sixth Pick Tournament
Quiescent Quotidian Quandaries »
The Missing Piece: Trading out of the 2014 Super Draft
Though I always try to do the pieces in this series as objectively as possible, two things have become blatently clear to me in this last week, and as a result, this Missing Piece will be more subjective than any of the others. The two things are as follows:
1.) The 2014 NBA Draft appears to have the most talent since the infamous 2003 Draft.
2.) The New Orleans Pelicans need to trade their 2014 1st round pick NOW!
The second statement doesn’t seem to naturally follow from the first, unless of course my argument was that I wanted to sabotage the Pelicans. But read that first statement again. Did you notice that I used the phrase ‘appears to have’, as opposed to saying that it ‘has the most talent? I say that because it is impossible to judge a draft this far out, and this year’s draft is evidence of that. Remember when James McAdoo, Tony Mitchell, and Alex Poythress will are projected top five picks? You should, it was just a few months ago that they were all projected to go high and become difference makers in the league. Archie Goodwin was another sure fire lottery pick and Steven Adams was #1 or #2 on some mock drafts last August. Then those guys actually played games this year and the rest is history. Now, look at some of these 2014 mock drafts, the one’s that imagine the ceilings for all these 17 and 18 year old boys. Of course the 2014 draft looks strong in that context, but how much do you want to bet that half of the guys in the top 16 of that mock draft aren’t even in the discussion for being a lotto pick this time next year?
But even if you believe that this year will be different, wouldn’t you agree that selling a stock at its peak is almost always a good idea? The Clippers did it to us when they gave us the Minnesota pick for CP3 and the Rockets did it when they gave up Toronto’s pick to acquire James Harden. In thoery, those picks were so tempting to the teams that acquired them because they weren’t a player with flaws; they were abstract, endless possibilities, and GM’s like those so much more. Each of those picks were the second best assets in trades that landed superstars. Heck, you could argue that at the time the Thunder traded James Harden, the Toronto pick might have been the most coveted long term asset in that deal. Flash forward a couple months later and that has turned into the 12th pick in a weak draft and it probably couldn’t fetch you a solid 7th or 8th man in a trade. Same could probably be said for Rivers, who New Orleans took with the Minnesota pick. The Rockets and Clippers sold high. The Pelicans should do the same.
And you gotta believe that any team that trades for the Pelicans first round pick in 2014 thinks that they will get a top 7 or 8 pick, and why shouldn’t they? New Orleans has finished last and second to last in the Western Conference the past two years. You sell that pick early in the offseason, before you make massive improvements, and teams will give you more than they would after you signed an Iguodala or a Pekovic. When you add all of these factors and combine it with the fact that the team wants to create a winning culture, everything points to trading this pick when its value is at an all time high. So, now that we have all agreed on this philosophy, let’s take a look at who we can target.
1. Anybody in the 2013 Draft
Pick up the phone and tell them that you will trade the 6th pick and your 2014 1st rounder and you can move up as high as you want in this draft if you identify a particular player that can be a major piece moving forward.
2. Rajon Rondo
If the Celtics decide to blow it up this year, they will at least entertain offers for Rajon Rondo. Our pick this year and next plus either Vasquez or Austin Rivers might be hard for Boston to pass up.
3. Nicolas Batum
The Blazers like him, but Monty loves him. If they identify a small forward that they love at number 10 this year, they could move Batum for Robin Lopez and our 2014 1st rounder.
4. Al Horford
I was told by a little birdie that if Atlanta strikes out on CP3 and Dwight, they might consider blowing it all up and trying to pick up multiple picks in the 2014 draft. Our 2013 and 2014 1st rounders plus Robin Lopez could make them a very interesting team by 2015. I was told they love CJ McCollum. McCollum, Wiggins, and Willie Cauley-Stein could make them Thunder East.
The formula is there and the time is right for the New Orleans Pelicans to sell an asset right now at its absolute peak. If they truly believe that this past season will be the last one where they will lose more than they win for the foreseeable future, then they need to move the 2014 pick while the other 29 times in the league believe that the 2014 draft will be chalk full of All-Stars and the Pelicans will be a bottom feeder once again. Pray on their hope. Pray on their ignorance. Pray on their fantasies. Pray on all of this by trading the pick as soon as possible to get the missing piece.
The Missing Piece is a weekly feature that you can find every Saturday on bourbonstreetshots.com. For past articles in this series, click here.
I guess my only disclaimer for this would be that our pick becomes inherently (substantially) less valuable if we do trade it for someone good.
In the below examples I'm assuming trades take place on draft day. I'm also assuming we wouldn't give away a completely unprotected pick.
1 - Bennett (Most Upside) + top 3 protected 2014 pick to Atlanta for Horford.
We then have a Starting line up of PG/Gordon/SF/Davis/Horford and a bench of Rivers, Anderson, Roberts, J-Smitty and Miller. Assuming we have even average starters (reasonably, Jeff Teague and Matt Barnes) at the other two positions then that rotation will most likely make the play-offs. Thus our pick becomes much less valuable than if we're rolling with a roster more comparable to this year.
2 - Porter/Saric/Len + top 3 protected 2014 pick to Blazers for Batum
Pretty much rinse and repeat as above. We run with PG/Gordon/Batum/Davis/C and the same bench (also, likelihood of keeping Lopez here would increase) which is also gonna be pushing for the playoffs.
In either sceario, our pick is most likely somewhere in the 13-20 range (depending on Gordon's health) and is therefore not anywhere near the value as an asset as it would be if we were trading it for a player who wasn't as solid as Batum or Horford. I used them as examples as they were the ones you mentioned in the article.
Sure GM's make bad decisions, but I think they'd be able to assess the impact signing a top 30 player to a team with some good young talent would have in terms of improvement for the Pels. Particularly a guy like Horford.
Just saying that I doubt a GM would expect us to finish with the 6th-8th worst record around either of those rotations. Particularly allowing for the 8 mil or so cap space we'd still have left after absorbing a guy with a contract like Horfords.
watch this post http://www.blazersedge.com/2013/5/24/4363692/steven-adams-comparable-analysis Compare one prospect to others in the past and his results, through thinks like height weight(if exist) bench press and other measurements, and the numbers in ncaa season and/or euro season, building a model of the fisrt three years of the player, what is the most likely case for him, the worst and the best. In the 2012 draft was insanely accurate if the player play enough minutes. In this model Shabazz is absolutely putrid, Cody Zeller is David Lee´s clone(like MM said before), Steven Adams is a defensive beast, Gobert is a gamble(huge upside, but high risk too), Oladipo can be from Jimmy Butler to Brandon Roy(!!), among others. Watch his post about others ( still lacks many of course), absolutely awesome
Also, another philosophy I have: The better your team, the better they make lesser players look. Hard to explain what I mean here, but I will put it like this. Do you think Jummy Butler would be this good if he was on Sacramento? How about Norris Cole if he went to Charlotte?
You get a guy like Horford or Rondo in here and that makes the game so much easier for all the role players and now they can just concentrate on their role. You keep bringing in all these young guys and dont have any defined roles and that is when you get into trouble.
This team needs to get good, then it can bring in rookies at the end of the first round and they will have bigger impacts than guys taken in the top 10 on crappy teams. So, I am not against adding young guys- I just want young guys to have small roles like Butler did coming into the league. Then they grow a little bit each year and wind up way better than higher drafted guys (Aminu) who are asked to do too much for crap teams
I take the Horford deal in a heart beat. Nic Batum would be nice especially because of his connection to Monty but I take Al Horford averaging a double-double at 26 and an even $12 million over the next three seasons than Nic Batum getting paid just south of that over the same period of time, being two years younger, and just one year less of NBA experience.
I also feel like Horford is the type of center than can be easily paired with Davis in the front court. A guy that gives you more bulk but not height in the front-court, something Davis make up for with his length and athleticism. Horford and Davis starting with Anderson, Smith, and maybe a more traditional backup big-man/center would give the Pelicans a very dynamic and deep front-court at a bargain price. That still leaves a glaring hole at small forward but the Pelicans would show improvement which would give them time to continue improvement while still maintaining financial flexibility.
it really comes down to the value you get for what a team pays a player and the acquisition costs. The cap being what is - you want players on a contract that gives you value. Lebron, Durant etc will give you value no matter what you pay them. Ryno is a good value. A Davis was a good value last year and will be an over the top good value in the near future. Vasquez for all of his faults is a good value. Eric G. well not so much as far as value. Al Horford in my opinion is a good value on his current contract. Jefferson less so.
The acquisition cost for most of our current players has been fairly low. Chris Paul was a big price to pay for what we got in some ways, but he was leaving one way or another. Good players on their first and second contract tend to be good values. trying to get an established all star to town is good to cost you in the acquisition process, on the contract itself or likely both. The trade scenarios up top seem to cost a bit too much in my opinion. Two first round picks is a lot when you are likely to drafting in the first 10.
I'd be perfectly fine with the 4th one. Not sure about the others.
To me it comes down to whether who's worth MORE than 12 million per year?
Horford (yes, that's his contract # and it's steady and non-increasing).
the 6th pick this year (which will be around 2.6 million) + another pick next year (hopefully somewhere between 10 to 18 w/c means a salary of around 1.9 to 1.2 million) + Lopez (5.1 million) + leftover (approximately around 3 million)?
I think it's pretty clear who wins this.
We'd have to trade Ryan Anderson (which would make me REALLY SAD) but that's inevitable. I'd love to do a complicated 4-way trade where we get Bledsoe + Jimmy Butler for Ryan Anderson. Something like:
LAC trades Bledsoe, 25th pick for Asik
HOU trades Asik, Motiejunas for Anderson
CHI trades Jimmy Butler for Motiejunas + 25th pick
NOP trades Anderson for Bledsoe + Jimmy Butler
LAC does to make their defense better (and yes, Asik is better than DeAndre by a mile). HOU does this trade to help entice Howard (what's more enticing than Harden/Parsons/Anderson or Kobe/Metta/Pau?? I think the 1st one wins). I have no good reason why CHI would do this trade. I just know (or think) that value wise, it's a good one. We obviously do this to get good value out of Anderson, getting two starting caliber guards to pair with Gordon. I also think Monty would LOVE to have those 2, utilizing them (defensively) the same way he used CP3 and Ariza.
I'm comfortable moving forward with a starting five of Bledsoe/Gordon/Butler/Davis/Horford with a bench of Roberts/Rivers/J.Smith + whoever we can get with the few cap space we have left (if we do use it). I think that team can compete for a playoff spot and/or actually contend depending on two things:
1. Gordon's health be willing
2. Bledsoe/Butler/Davis' improvement.
I would go for trading conditional 2015, but 2014 does look solid as it stands now.
I don't think any of the players mentioned are worth 2 #1s.
Another trade target that MM mentioned earlier in the year - Kevin Love. Could a package of 2013 1st, 2014 1st, and Ryno be enough? Minnesota knows Love is bolting as soon as his contract is over.
Last thing I will say is that my philosophy is that when everybody else is zigging, you get the most value by zagging. There is this belief around the league that rookie contracts are gold, so I use that belief to my advantage and sell them when they are at their peak value. I look at the final four teams in the playoffs and I only see two guys who are rookie contracts really helping their team win. Rookie contracts are great in theory, but usually those guys won't start helping you win until they get on their second contract, and by then they are getting paid big bucks.
I understand the new "conventional wisdom", but all that tells me is that it is a seller's market for those willing to go against that conventional wisdom.
I went back and watched some Celtic games this year and I love how Avery Bradley plays. In Monty's system, he wants an attacking defensive point guard, I know Michael mentioned that an Avery Bradley and Paul Pierce for Eric Gordon and #6 pick could happen. I would love that. The time for losing is over. Let's start to contend and build a winning culture.
After looking at his measurables, watching the DraftExpress video, his combine interview, Hoops Summit highlights, and highlights for his German team, I think Dennis Schroeder is very similar to Rajon Rondo. In my opinion, it's not worth giving up so many assets to get Rondo when you can likely add assets by getting a guy very similar to him on a cheaper contract.
Gordon , Gordon, Gordon, if Gordon had played like, well, Eric Gordon, Dell had armed a heck of a team, young, cheap, with a lot of space. But this fool for whatever reason, denied the team, denied the city(for Phoenix? really?) and between injuries, stupid comments and awful, horrible effort and play, reduced his market value to crap, and derailed the team´s plan too. We would not have this conversation with Eric Bledsoe instead of Gordon
Depends on how the draft go some say noles might slide down to 6th if so ill pick him up to pair with davis and have the future robinson Duncan front court cant really make a decision on how much this yrs pick is worth until 1-5 get drafted last year a lot of teams went against the grain when picking n some payed off but if all the top 3 talent is gone at 6 ill trade for cousins for lopez n aminu n next year 1st rounder not top 7
On second thought, the nuggets may just let Iguodala walk and then they probably will want to hold on Chandler and Brewer. Iguodala was good , but not really max contract good. His PER of 15 is pretty average and even if it under estimates his true value due to his defensive ability, it still doesn't look like a max contract.
Besides is he is a Franchise player, why couldn't the Nugget rely on him for consistent offense in the playoffs?
I don't think we should trade the pick necessarily now. I think we have to see what the direction of the team is. If we can find a way to trade Eric Gordon, we need to keep it because we probably are going to be bad again next year.
I would hate the idea of trading both picks away because that is just not how you build a team. I re-listened to almost all of Dell's interviews from last year, and he definitely knows that this will not be merely a quick fix. He knows it will take time.
I don't think we should trade the pick until after we pick our guy for this year so that we have a better idea of what our team will look like.
I am fine with not being a playoff team next year. That is the mistake many a fan of rebuilding team make. I don't think trading our pick this year and next year's pick for quasi-stars will help us achieve our goal of sustained success.
What happens after trading Lopez, 2013 1st and 2014 1st for Horford? Our frontcourt would be set, and we'd have another starter in Gordon, but we'd still have holes at pg and the other wing spot, with Vasquez left as our only real trade chip.
Bledsoe would be out of the question, as Vasquez alone is not enough to get him while teams like the Jazz will be offering guys like Paul Millsap. A guy I really like is Wilson Chandler. He's a tough, productive wing on both sides of the court and on a great contract (3yr/20mil left) which would leave us with 8-9 mil to spend on a pg in free agency. We could do a straight swap for Vasquez. Denver saves money that they can use to re-sign Iguodala and Corey Brewer, and we fill a need with a young vet on a good contract, maintaining flexibility.
A lot of people don't like Brandon Jennings because he's a chucker that shoots a poor %. But, could this just be a factor of him being forced to be the #1 option his entire career? Think about it, on this team, he would the #3 or even #4 option behind Gordon, Horford, and maybe Davis. If he can be had for 8-9 mil per year, that's great. If we need to offer more, I still think you do it, even though it will likely mean having to dump Jason Smith's contract, as Jennings will help this team more than Smith will.
After signing Jennings, all of our cap would likely be used up, so we should sign minimum salary guys for 1 or 2 years to fill up the remaining spots this year, and each year after this we use the MLE to bring in solid role players.
Jennings/Gordon/Chandler/Davis/Horford starting, and Anderson/Rivers/others off the bench.
I live in Colorado, and end up watching a lot of Nuggets game. I like Chandler. He's a versatile wing and a good defender, plus he can play a little 4 depending on the match-up. I think Denver would take that trade.
But Chandler has been a bit injury prone, while in Denver. At this point, I think our (the pelican's) 2014 pick should be worth more. I wonder if we could get him for our 2013 pick?
His 3 pt shooting was much better this year than his career average . Whether that is a real improvement or statistical variation may take another season to sort out.
I also wonder if Denver could be talked into Wilson Chandler for our 2014 First Round pick. Chandler is not as good as Batum, but is only a year older and nearly half the cost. Denver has a much greater need to shed salary than Portland and has greater depth to sustain success while dealing Chandler (which could help them resign Iguodala).
Portland trading Batum would be a stretch because they would be required to spend a ton of money ($20 Million plus) just to reach the salary floor at that point. I think Chandler could be a better value for the cost (pick and salary committed).
I'm sure Dell is looking at deals like this. He probably thinks other GMs are over valuing this year's draft class and there is some value there. Got to find a piece that you want and then be able to make a deal.
I actually love Al Horford. He is a great player. But I love Davis more. And I think a player of Horford's stature in the post limits Davis' development. I think there is far more danger in rushing the process and getting locked into too many current star contracts. I would be a lot more open to trading picks if we weren't locked into a Gordon's contract. So get rid of Gordon for something more of relative value - then start trading picks.
By the way, Mike Mac, I'm in no way disagreeing with you here. I think a trade like that would be great.
I just think it would be so great for us that other GM's might recognise that and be less likely to pull the trigger on it.
There is one sentence that sums it all up in your comment- "Good players on their first and second contract...."
I totally agree, and this is why teams covet these picks. They always assume that they will get the good players, but history shows that you are more likely to get an average or below average player.
But it seems like that is never a consideration, even though it is the most likely outcome
I would never put something up here that is not doable. I know the CBA backwards and forwards and every rule and loophole. I appreciate you looking out, though.
@DavidLeBoeuf You'd have to do a verbal agreement with the other team to pick the guy they want. Example, we pick Alex Len with the 6th pick. At the opening of FA (I think around July 7? You can negotiate contracts starting July 1), ATL loses out on Howard (who decides to go to HOU) and Paul (who decides to stay with LAC) and they're blowing up. It would just become Horford for Alex Len, 2014 pick, Lopez. That's perfectly possible in the CBA. No rules were broken.
@nicobaguio Yeah, as you said on Twitter, I have no idea why Chicago would do that. They have a guy in Mirotic overseas that is close enough to Montiejunas and they LOVE Butler.
Also, giving Houston Anderson and the potential to pair him with Dwight, Parsons, and Harden really scares me
@lsutigers33 some recent number 1 picks in our history:
Rivers, Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons, Julian Wright- all were in the top 15. Again, people think of the picks in the most positive light because a pick in and of itself has no flaws, just "potential" and a good contract. But are you telling me you wouldn't give up any two of those players above for Horford or Rondo?
@eMariii123 People ask a lot about Love. Now that Kahn is gone, I think they are going to go all out to patch things up with Love. I dont think they move him until next summer at the earliest. They will do everything this year to improve the team and convince him that he needs to be there long term
Heck, you can even throw Lopez in there as well. When you have a chance to get a player of Love's calibur, you go for it. I think Minnesota seriously thinks about this trade.
None of the guys are on rookie contracts now, but they were. OKC had Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Harden all on rookie contracts; and they all grew together.
I'm not sure the goal is playoffs for us next season. The goal is sustained success.
Indiana drafted George, Hibbert, and Hansborough somewhat recently; it's paying off now.
@jsl05 if boston trade us Bradley Pierce and one or two picks for Gordon and other, i take it in a blink. After that we can think in others
@jsl05 I dont think the Nuggets would bite on Vasquez now, because they still have Andre Miller in the back-up point role. In a lot of ways they are similar players (Miller and Vasquez) on opposite ends of their career.
Heres a realistic way to get it done it all under the cap:
Lopez, our #6 pick and 2014 unprotected 1st round pick to ATL for Horford and their #18 pick this year.
Vasquez and #18 to MIL for Jennings in a S&T @$10m/y, 4 years for Jennings.
Jason Smith to DEN for Wilson Chandler.
Also, If we trade Lopez and this years 1st plus next years 1st (for Horford) we would have about $25m in cap space before the trade. Horford is $12m so that leave $13m. Lets say Jennings costs us $10m, that leaves us with $3m left....not enough to bring in Chandler unless you can give up $3.3m (Chandler makes $6.3m next season). GV, Rivers, or Jason Smith each make between $2.1m - $2.5m so that wont work unless you give them 2 of the 3. DEN already has 2 PGs in Lawson and Miller so I don't see them being interested in GV or Rivers and there lies the problem.
@eMariii123 Jennings is a RFA, and if he agreed to a deal that low to play for us dont you think MIL would just match? To pry him away, we would need to offer a sign and trade and with our draft chips gone to ATL for Horford do you think we have the assets to get it done? But if we could pull Jennings and Horford off while keeping EG, Davis, and Anderson I think thats a nice core to go to battle with.
@usnfish I like the idea, but I don't think Wilson Chandler is the type of player I want to trade my 2014 1st for. I say go big (by including this year's pick) or go home.
@usnfish with two 2nd rounds maybe, 1nd pick? no thanks
@macs21 I dont mind disagreement anyway. Love it actually, keeps us all sharp.
Your point about other GM's is a smart one, they are hiring more intelligent GM's every year. The days of fleecing guys might be over soon
@Michael McNamara Yea, but wouldn't @nicobaguio proposal require Atlanta to take back salary fairly equal to Horford? If there is a pick involved doesn't the salary match thing go out the window?
It's hard to fault current management for draft mistakes by prior management, but that's what you do when you list three horrible draft picks from the horrible old regime with Austin Rivers. (I am as ambiguous about Rivers as the next guy. He hasn't shown much yet, but he is "young to the NBA game" and just two years removed from high school. He may still be a quality piece for this team, although probably not at PG in my opinion.)
If the current Pelican management drafts anything like the much older CP3 and DWest management, these next 1st round picks are valuable.
I am all for contrarian thinking. But the model can't just be all contrarian thinking. There has to be more thought.
@Edbballin504 I could see this happening, although Denver wouldn't do that trade for Chandler. We could sign a guy like Corey Brewer or Martell Webster instead though.
I like this trade it all depends on the draft if porter going 1 would make noles drop to us ill keep lopez until the final yr of his contact n use the extra money to to bring over a back up for Gordon maybe a trade for lamb from okc for a amuniu n a future second rounder
I don't want Jennings under any circumstances and why would Denver gift us Chandler for Smith?
@Edbballin504 If we have 25 mil before and we trade Lopez, his 5 mil comes off the books so we'd have 30 mil, then subtract Horford's 12 mil, leaving us with 18mil after the trade. If you say Jennings will cost 10 mil, that leaves us with 8 mil after getting both him and Horford. Chandler will make slightly less than 7 mil, plus Vasquez's 1.5 or so mil comes off, leaving us with roughly 2.5 mil after all these moves.
@504ever @Michael McNamara @lsutigers33 The same guys who drafted CP3 and West took Kirk haston, Simmons, Armstrong, and Wright. Why? Because it is an inexact science. "If" you pick the right guys, of course it is better to have picks at their price, but that is so hard to do.
I guess the best way to sum this debate up is: The picks have the highest ceiling, but the odds of you hitting that ceiling is maybe 5%. Maybe. Horford, Rondo, etc. have a floor 10 times higher that the floor of the picks, however.