In a trade, one NBA team can give to the other a protected pick (I heard of this concept reading about the alleged details of the DeMarcus Cousins trade from Sacramento Kings to New Orleans Pelicans).

I understand the idea of first and second round picks at the NBA lottery, but I fail to see what can be "protected" about a future event dominated by chance.

1 Answer 1


A protected pick is one which will be traded only if it is below a certain point in the draft order. For example, in the Cousins trade, the first round pick that the Pelicans are sending to the Kings is "top three protected" - i.e. if the Pelicans end up with any of the first, second or third pick in the draft, then they keep their 2017 pick and the process starts again with their 2018 first round pick.

As always, the CBA FAQ can get you right into the gory details.


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