Nets have sent out or acquired future second round draft picks — sometimes both — in a series of deals this summer: in the Spencer Dinwiddie sign-and-trade in August, the DeAndre Jordan salary dump in September and the two deals that came off near simultaneously Tuesday night. In effect, the Nets switched seconds, losing one, gaining another. No firsts have been moved, of course. The Nets can’t trade any firsts through 2027 because of the way the James Harden deal had to configured. They did add one on Draft Night.
So after last January’s trade for Harden and this summer’s moves, where do the Nets stand over the next several Junes? Let’s put it this way: the Nets are all in now! At the moment, their first rounders through 2027 are either going to Houston or must be swapped with the Rockets. They don’t an unencumbered first until 2028, two years after Kevin Durant’s extension runs out. In the second round, the Nets have one second each in five of the next seven drafts ... but only one in the next three drafts. They currently have seconds in 2023, 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028. That’s all per Pro Sports Transactions. (Teams can’t trade picks more than seven years out.)
Here’s a breakdown of where the Nets stand...
2022 - no firsts, no seconds. The first rounder is owed to the Rockets, the first payoff of their haul from the Harden trade. It is unprotected. The second rounder is owed to the Pistons, part of the DJ salary dump. It’s hard to imagine that will be the case come next June.
2023 - Houston has swap rights to the first rounder, meaning if the Nets have a worse record than the Rockets, they’ll have to swap picks. Atlanta has swap rights to the second rounder, part of the 2018 Jeremy Lin salary dump.
2024 - no firsts, their own second. This will be Houston’s second unprotected first rounder.
2025 - Houston has swap rights to the first rounder. No second. It too went south in the Lin salary dump. (The Nets had the Warriors second rounder, part of the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade, but it wound up with the Pistons.)
2026 - No firsts, their own second. Houston’s third and final unprotected first rounder from the Harden deal ... the .
2027 - Houston has swap rights to the first rounder, their final payment for James Harden. Their own second.
2028 - Their own first, their own second.
When the Harden deal was announced, the headline was that the Nets were sending seven picks or swaps to the Rockets. The swaps of course don’t happen unless the Nets collapse and/or the Rockets rise over the next five seasons. Already, the first swap, in the 2021 Draft, didn’t get used. It was “extinguished,” as they say. The disparity in picks — between Nos. 2 and 27 — made that first swap worthless.
Preserving some seconds is critical if you want to do salary dumps or use trade exceptions. You have to send something out in deals like that. So having some second rounders in reserve helps flexibility. FYI, the Nets now have four trade exceptions, with two big enough to be useful: the $11.45 million TPE from the Dinwiddie deal and the $6.27 million exception from the Jordan trade. After Tuesday’s two deals, the Nets also have a $1.29 million exception, the difference between what they got in sending out Sekou Doumbouya and receiving Edmond Sumner.
Another trade piece that can be used in a complicated deal is stash rights. The Nets in fact added a new stash, Nikola Milutinov, the Russian seven-footer, in the five-team Dinwiddie S&T and sent Juan Pablo Vaulet’s rights out in the Sumner salary dump. They also renounced their rights to Isaia Cordinier. That leaves them with three, including Milutinov, who is injured.
The Nets of course had a big Draft haul this year, using the 27th, 29th, 44th, 49th and 59th picks, then adding David Duke Jr. after he went undrafted. It’s possible, if Duke secures the second two-way, that the Nets could carry four rookies on the 17-man roster including the two-ways: Cam Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe on the 15-man roster, with Kessler Edwards and Duke as two-ways. There’s already been one report that Marcus Zegarowski, the 49th pick, will sign directly with the Long Island Nets and the speculation is that RaiQuan Gray, the 59th pick, will do the same.
Can we expect that the Nets will try to replenish their picks? Tuesday’s deals seem to prove that they’re interested. If the Nets had stopped with trading Doumbouya, giving up their 2024 second and not securing the 2025 from Indiana along with Sumner, they could have saved $20 million in salary and luxury taxes. Doing the Sumner deal reduced the savings (to $8 million) but gained them a second in 2025.