Not that this speculation isn't anything many others haven't already assumed, but Kevin Pelton over at Basketball Prospectus has a brief article on the
bet trade the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Bobcats made with each other when Detroit sent Ben Gordon and a protected first-round pick to Charlotte in exchange for the expiring deal of Corey Magette.
Pelton writes that the Pistons are most likely to send the pick out in 2014 but crunches some numbers to see who gets better value if that ends up being the case.
As a reminder, the protection of the pick is as follows: top-14 protected in 2013, top-8 protected in 2014, top-1 protected in 2015 and unprotected in 2016. :
Projecting two years out is exponentially more difficult than projecting the upcoming season, but I find it more likely than not that Charlotte will end up with a 2014 pick in the second half of the lottery. The Pistons finished with the league's ninth-worst record this season, have a handful of rising talents (most notably Greg Monroe) and will have incentive to win games down the stretch in 2013-14 rather than coasting into the lottery.
A 2014 pick would still be valuable to the Bobcats, certainly. I'd estimate the value of the 10th pick somewhere around $6 million. But Charlotte is taking on more than twice that much salary, so for this deal to truly work they will almost certainly have to delay the pick until 2015 or 2016-and hope Detroit is still struggling then. Naturally, the Pistons have a slightly more optimistic view of their own fortunes, so it makes sense that they'd be willing to take the risk for the payoff in cap space next summer.
Obviously this is a gamble for both sides with one side hoping Detroit stinks through 2015 and Detroit wagering that they'll be playoff bound in two seasons at the latest.
Dan Feldman at PistonPowered points out that the deal might be a little sweeter for Charlotte than Pelton lets on due to the fact that the new CBA has some new thresholds for a salary floor and that means the Bobcats were going to need to spend money after this next season anyway.