Understanding the Minnesota 1st RND Pick

When I heard the reports last night about the possible three-way trade involving the Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks centered around Carmelo Anthony, one of the first things that popped into my head was wanting to know what the first round pick would be from the T-Wolves.

I jumped to a few conclusions last night without doing any research on it, but today with the help of others I can explain what this pick would be. For the bad news ...  


The Minnesota first-round pick would be their 2014 selection and here is why ...


1.) The Timberwolves 2011 First-Round pick belongs to the Clippers, but it's a conditional pick.

  • When a team trades a draft pick they typically put a few protections in.
  • The First-Round draft pick for the 2011 draft is protected 1-10. Meaning that if the pick is 1-10 then the Timberwolves will keep their pick and the Clippers would get the Wolves' 2012 pick instead. You can read about it here, thanks to reader Bigdorph for finding this link.
  • The Timberwolves currently have the second-worst record in the NBA at 11-39, virtually assuring their 2011 first-round pick will be 1-10 ... so ...

2.) The Timberwolves 2012 First-Round pick will likely belong to the Clippers.

  • If the Timberwolves pick is 1-10 and they keep their pick, then the prior trade with the Clippers states that the Clipps will receive Minnesota's 2012 First-Round pick and that pick is unprotected. So, no matter what, the 2012 Minny pick will belong to the Clippers (even if it's #1 overall).

3.) The Timberwolves cannot trade the Nuggets their 2013 First-Round pick because of a NBA Salary Cap rule called "The Ted Stepien Rule".

  • "Teams are restricted from trading away future first round draft picks in consecutive years," according to Larry Coon's NBA Salary Cap FAQ. So, the Clippers cannot trade away their 2013 First-Rounder because they have already dealt their 2012 First-Round pick to the Clippers.
  • The only way the Clippers can trade away their 2013 First-Round pick is during the 2012-13 season when the 2012 First-Round pick is no longer considered a "future pick", since it would then be a thing of the past.

4.) That leaves us with the Timberwolves 2014 First-Round pick as reporter Eric Pincus Tweeted last night.

  • "so there's a rumor from broussard going around with a minny pick going to denver as part of melo - my initial take is 2014 earliest" Eric Pincus Twitter.

A first-round pick three-years from now for Melo? That's not going to be easy for the fans to swallow if it happens. And we don't know yet if there are any conditions involved with that draft pick yet either. Add to that the two players named in the rumor to be on their way to Denver, Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer, would be either restricted free agents if Denver made them qualifying offers or unrestricted free agents if Denver doesn't offer them qualifying offers after the season and ... yikes.



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