One of the great aspects of the NBA is its numerous, convoluted trades. A big part of that is the value of draft picks. Given that only 60 players are drafted and that they have cheap contracts in a league with a salary cap, draft picks are incredibly important tools in building a team.
But there may be changes made to how teams can utilize those picks in trades. Following via ESPN’s Zach Lowe:
The league has since discussed banning pick swaps between drafts in which a team already owes its pick to other teams; the tweak has been on the competition committee agenda, but has not been debated yet at length, sources say.
The league already employs the Stepien Rule which disallows teams from not having first round picks in back-to-back drafts, meaning if a team has traded its 2018 pick, it cannot trade its 2019 pick without receiving another in return.
However, if this rule change is implemented, teams would be unable to trade that second pick (the 2019 pick in our example) as part of a pick swap with another team.
Pick swaps are fairly common – the Nets and Celtics completed one this offseason before Boston traded that pick to the 76ers.
This seems like another case of the NBA helping bad organizations that put themselves in awful situations by trading too many picks, much like the Nets did in the now infamous trade that got them Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.