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Speculation that first-round draft picks could be for sale this year

2019 NBA Draft

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 20: A general view of the stage and draft board at the end of the first round during the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE/Getty Images

First-round draft picks are generally considered too valuable to surrender in today’s NBA. Smart teams are slow to put them in trades, teams try to stockpiles them, and nobody sells them off. Well, not nobody, the Pistons sold the No. 30 pick (Kevin Porter Jr.). last year to the Cavaliers. Before that you have to go back to 2013, when Denver sold the 27th pick (Rudy Gobert) to Utah. (In both of those cases second-round picks were included.)

Like everything else in American life, the coronavirus and its impacts could change that trend.

Because of the financial hit owners have taken, both with their NBA teams and other businesses, some could sell their picks in what is generally considered a rather “meh” draft. Brian Windhorst wrote about it at ESPN.

“I suspect first-round picks will be for sale in this draft,” one team executive said. “We haven’t really seen that in a decade.”

First-round picks are cost-controlled by the rookie scale, making them a value if teams draft a player that can contribute. It could be short-sighted to sell, however, the financial pressures on some owners and teams will have them considering a sale.

Much as it has in the rest of society, the coronavirus’ impact on the NBA could highlight the disparity between the have and have-not teams. Who can buy and who can sell picks will tell you a lot.

The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery is set for Aug. 20, with the 2020 NBA Draft itself on Oct. 16.