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Thunder Acquire Two Pick Swaps… For Nothing? What Value Do These Pick Swaps Hold?

Update: This article is OUTDATED, an updated article on this topic can be found here

Thursday morning The Athletic unveiled a tiny wrinkle in the marquee move that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. What was revealed? Draft capitol for the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the expense being nothing.

As listed in The Athletic, here are the new details surrounding the blockbuster deal,

“The 2021 Brooklyn-Houston pick swap now becomes part of a larger, wilder pick scenario involving Miami, and Oklahoma City, which gets the two best picks out of each of those four teams’ first rounders (although Houston’s pick is top-four protected). Houston gets the third-best as long as its pick is outside the top-four, and Brooklyn gets the worst pick.

Similarly, in 2025, Houston’s pick in top-10 protected. If it’s outside of the top 10, Oklahoma City will receive the best pick out of Houston, Brooklyn and its own selection. Houston will get the second-best, Brooklyn will get the worst. With Houston seemingly about to enter a rebuild and that 2025 Brooklyn pick having upside, Sam Presti’s wheeling and dealing just became that much more valuable.”

In Layman’s terms, here what this essentially means:

The Thunder will have the right to swap with the Brooklyn Nets in both their 2021 1st and 2025 1st round pick, with zero protections on either of those picks.

For Oklahoma City, they will have the top two firsts in 2021 out of the Thunder, Rockets. Heat, and Nets. The only hitch in this deal is that the Rockets pick is protected 1-4, but if it lays outside the four, it’s fair game for OKC. From there the Rockets will have the 3rd best selection, and the Nets will receive the worst out of the four.

In 2025, the Thunder will have the best of the Thunder, Rockets, or Nets pick, expect this time around, the Rockets will keep their draft choice if it falls in the top 10. This Nets pick is far more intriguing than their one this year, as by this time their core will be way past their primes. Kevin Durant will be 36, Harden just a year back at 35, and Kyrie Irving will be 32 barring he returns by then.

With the Nets shipping their future first round picks out for Harden (2022, 2024, 2026) in addition to four pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027,) and being locked up under the cap, there is hardly any wiggle room to retool their core in the following seasons via trades. This leaves the Nets’ 25′ selection up in major jeopardy and potentially giving Presti yet another high draft selection.

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