Minnesota Timberwolves 2023 NBA Draft: Any picks for sale?

Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Minnesota Timberwolves entered the 2022 NBA Draft, the team had an arsenal of picks. And by the end of the 2022 NBA Draft, the team had made a number of trades that added selections in Round 1 at the expense of future second-round draft picks. Curiously, no money changed hands.

But money can change hands. That happens in Round 2 of the NBA Draft, as that is the round that NBA teams are willing to sell their picks. But, have you ever wondered how that works? Since we had so much fun with ESPN’s dismal dissection of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ offseason outlook, why not go back to the well and allow ESPN’s NBA analyst Bobby Marks a chance to redeem himself?

Why are we investigating this topic on Memorial Day weekend? Well, for two reasons. It’s always a good idea to review and refresh the mechanics and tools available to NBA general managers leading up to and throughout the 2023 NBA Draft.

But more specifically, what tools do the Minnesota Timberwolves have at their disposal to enhance or add draft picks?  After all, a draft pick in the hands of Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly is as dangerous as a winning card is in the hands of a veteran Bingo player. It’s bound to end up with a valued prize.

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Cash considerations, limits, and concerns

For the 2023 NBA Draft, each NBA team has a limit of $6.36 million dollars that can fall into two categories. That amount can be sent to one or more other NBA teams, and/or it can be received from one or more other NBA teams. One category does not offset the other. In other words, if the TImberwolves sell their lone 2023 NBA Draft second-round pick for $3 million dollars, the team does not now have $9.36 million to send to other teams. At that time, the Timberwolves would only have $3.36 remaining to receive.

The Timberwolves, unlike the example, are likely to be buyers of picks in Round 2 of the 2023 NBA Draft. Which picks could the Timberwolves ‘buy’ on draft night? Well, there are a couple of prerequisites. Teams that engage in ‘selling picks,’ typically have a gluttony of picks in their possession. For the 2023 NB Draft, you could expect the following teams to be willing to sell a second-round draft pick:

  • Team                              Picks not for sale                    Picks that could be up for sale
  • Charlotte Hornets             2, 24                                          34, 39, 41
  • Indiana Pacers                   7, 26, 29                                   32, 55
  • San Antonio Spurs            1, 33                                          44
  • Orlando Magic                    6, 11                                         36
  • Brooklyn Nets                    21, 22                                        51
  • Sacramento Kings            24, 38                                        54

Of course, as draft day trades occur, some teams could acquire additional picks that they would be willing to trade for cash considerations, while other teams with surplus picks could trade away picks, and therefore be unwilling to sell draft picks for cash considerations.

So what is the dollar value of picks? That is up for negotiation. Historically, a team that wishes to ‘buy’ a second-round pick in an NBA Draft around the 50-55 overall pick range has spent approximately 33 percent of their annual cash allotment. That equates to approximately $2.12 million in this year’s draft. To buy a pick in the 40s, the Timberwolves would need to up the ante to $3+ million.

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Will the Timberwolves be shopping for draft picks in the 2023 NBA Draft? If the price is right, and there is value at that spot in the draft board, there is a strong chance that it could happen. For now, stay tuned . . .