Do the Nets have enough draft assets to retool?
The final piece of the Kyrie Irving trade puzzle is the draft compensation, a 2029 unprotected first-round pick, and seconds in 2027 and 2029. The Nets quietly have more draft ammunition than Rockets fans believe. Yes, the Nets traded their first round to the Rockets from 2021 to 2027, but they also didn’t.
The Rockets only have swaps of the Nets’ first-round picks in 2023, 2025, and 2027. That means the Nets still have a first-round pick in those years. It will just be the lower of the two. Throw in the Dallas pick, their own picks in 2028, 2029, and 2030 in the summer, and another pick coming from the Philadelphia 76ers in either 2026 or 2027, and all told, the Nets are projected to have seven first-round picks from now until 2030.
Due to the Stepien rule, the Nets won’t be able to trade many of those picks, but they can still trade players drafted with those selections, and with each passing season, more picks in the 2030s will open up to trade eligibility. The dirty secret is that pick swaps aren’t all that valuable outside of a massive difference in the standings. The Mavericks’ 2029 pick could be worthless if Luka Doncic is still around, but if he leaves, that pick becomes incredibly valuable.