Brooklyn Nets draft picks are unprotected

Maddie Meyer

The deal that keeps on giving does so without any protection.

The question that Kris and I get all the time, be it on Twitter or on the site, is about the option that the Atlanta Hawks have on the Brooklyn Nets picks, specifically regarding lottery protection.

For those who don't know about this, those numbers becoming fewer as the Nets gets worse, the option is that the Hawks, in both 2014 and 2015, can swap first round picks with the Nets.

This option was acquired by Hawks GM Danny Ferry as a further sweetener from the Nets in the Joe Johnson deal, a throw-in that surely the Nets felt would go unused because they were building a team that could win big sooner rather than later.

Now, however, as the Nets stumble out of the gate in this season, attention has turned to the Nets' picks as a possible ticket to one of the great players available in the 2014 draft.

So let's break down some of the key points to the option that the Hawks have on the Nets' picks.

1. The picks are unprotected.

This is the big one people ask about. Should the Nets continue to spiral, would the option to swap picks be protected by the Nets in the event they land anywhere in the lottery.

The answer is no, there is no protection on the picks, all the way to #1. This has, understandably, made Hawks fans both giddy and almost viciously opposed to any Brooklyn victory.

2. It is for both 2014 AND 2015.

The option to swap is for both years, meaning the Hawks could swap picks in 2014 with the Nets, then turn around and do it again in 2015, should it be beneficial for the team to do so.

The 2015 pick is also unprotected, no matter what. So if the Nets continue to bomb, and the Hawks are able to somehow get even the #1 pick in the 2014 draft, the team can do exactly the same thing next season, if the Nets are worse than the Hawks again.

3. The Boston Celtics have no claim to the best pick.

The Celtics, in their deal with the Nets that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn, acquired a first round pick from the Nets.

The pick the Celtics will get is the worse of the Hawks/Nets picks, meaning whichever one Danny Ferry doesn't want, the Celtics will get.

4. The pick wouldn't be transferred until after the lottery.

So the Nets would have to sit up there, in the Hollywood Squares like panel, and painfully go through the entire process and, if they got the #1 pick, would have to throw up all over themselves in front of America while the Hawks danced behind the cameras.

Hopefully the NBA wouldn't put them through that charade, but it's possible.

Now, as President Obama might say, let's be clear -- it's waayyyyyy too early to begin to believe that the Nets will bottom out and end up in the lottery. The East is terrible and the Nets have way too much talent to miss the playoffs, or even be worse than the Hawks.

But there's hope -- and, as Billy Knight was always fond of saying, it's possible -- anything is possible.

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