The Boston Celtics, noted hoarders of future assets, reportedly offered an eye-popping trade package to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for the No. 9 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
According to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, the Celtics coveted Duke’s Justise Winslow so badly they made an offer to the Hornets that included up to six future draft picks, including four potential first-rounders, some of which came in this year’s draft.
Forsberg writes, “Boston had opened wide its war chest of picks to the point where many in the room were slightly uncomfortable with the amount the team would potentially part with.”
Still, the Hornets couldn’t be swayed and instead drafted Frank Kaminsky, a seven-footer from Wisconsin, who many experts felt would land somewhere in the teens.
If the offer was that straight-forward — six picks, four potential future first-rounders — the Hornets are borderline insane for turning it down. It’s possible that there were catches that turned off the Hornets, like heavy protections on the picks or the right to swap picks, but that sort of compensation for a mid-lottery pick is almost unprecedented.
There are rarely trades in the NBA where teams offer only multiple picks for one asset in return. A recent example may be the Cleveland Cavaliers trading two first-round picks to the Denver Nuggets for Timofey Mozgov. This was thought to be a fair side for all teams — the Cavs had an extra draft pick and a desperate need for a center and the Nuggets got good compensation.
Another example could be the Atlanta Hawks getting three players, two draft picks, and the right to swap draft picks for Joe Johnson in 2013. That was an overpay, at the time and now, but the players were involved were all minimal role players.
What Michael Jordan and the Hornets turned down for one draft pick, if the reported offer is true, is on another level. Even Celtics GM Danny Ainge seemed to acknowledge it to Forsberg after:
“Maybe we were going too hard at it. There was a time when I thought, ‘Woah, this is getting a little out of control.’ We’re putting a lot of eggs in one young player’s basket. So I’m not frustrated. In the long run, maybe it will be the best.”
Again, perhaps the Celtics’ offer wasn’t as lucrative as it sounds — maybe the picks were late first-rounders, heavily protected, or too far down the line. Still, the Hornets have placed high expectations for Kaminsky, hoping he’ll be worth more by himself than six future players.
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