On Wednesday evening, just about 24 hours before the start of the 2019 NBA Draft, the league’s pre-eminent news-breaker, Adrian Wojnarowski, predicted that an extraordinary number of trades would be going down the following day. The league quickly set about proving him correct, with four trades going down on Thursday before the draft even began at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
- Warriors acquire No. 41 (Eric Paschall) from Hawks for 2024 second-round pick and cash
- Pacers acquire T.J. Warren and from Suns No. 32 (KZ Okpala—traded) for cash
- Hawks acquire No. 4 (De’Andre Hunter), No. 57 (Jordan Bone—trades), Solomon Hill and future second-round pick from Pelicans for No. 8 (Jaxson Hayes), No. 17 (Nickeil Alexander-Walker), No. 35 (Marcos Louzada Silva), 2020 protected first-round pick (Cleveland)
- Timberwolves acquire No. 6 (Jarrett Culver) from Suns for Dario Saric and No. 11 (Cameron Johnson)
In all, 32 of the 60 picks in the draft had already been sent to a team other than the one that “earned” it with its record during the 2018-19 season before the draft had even begun. But then the draft actually got started and the volume of trades slowed down considerably. The first in-draft swap did not go down until the Celtics were on the board at No. 20 (Matisse Thybulle), which they sent to the division rival 76ers for No. 24 (Ty Jerome—traded) and No. 33 (Carsen Edwards). And that’s what opened the floodgates, just as Woj predicted.
- Grizzlies acquire No. 21 (Brandon Clarke) from Thunder for No. 23 (Darius Bazley) and 2024 second-round pick
- Suns acquire No. 24 (Ty Jerome) and Aron Baynes from Celtics for 2020 first-round pick (Milwaukee)
- Clippers acquire No. 27 (Mfiondu Kabengele) from Nets for No. 56 (Jaylen Hands) and 2020 first-round pick (Philadelphia)
- Cavaliers acquire No. 30 (Kevin Porter Jr.) from Pistons for four future second-round picks and cash
So by the end of the first round, there had been nine draft day trades. And the league was not close to done. The second round brought with it … nine more trades.
- Heat acquire No. 32 (KZ Okpala) from Pacers for three future second-round picks
- Hawks acquire No. 34 (Bruno Fernando) from 76ers for No. 57 (Jordan Bone—traded) and two future second-round picks
- Warriors acquire No. 39 (Alen Smailagić) from Pelicans for 2021 second-round pick, 2023 second-round pick and cash
- Lakers acquire No. 46 (Talen Horton-Tucker) for 2020 second-round pick and cash
- Wizards acquire No. 42 (Admiral Schofield) and Jonathon Simmons from 76ers for cash
- Nuggets acquire No. 44 (Bol Bol) from Heat for future second-round pick and cash
- Knicks acquire No. 47 (Ignas Brazdeikis) from Kings for No. 55 (Kyle Guy) and cash
- Jazz acquire No. 50 (Jarrell Brantley) from Pacers for future second-round pick and cash
- Pistons acquire No. 57 (Jordan Bone) from 76ers for future second-round pick and cash
In case you’ve lost count, that’s a total of 18 draft-day trades. You might be wondering: how does that compare to previous years? Lucky for you, we were tracking exactly that throughout the day. And those 18 draft-day trades were the most of any previous season during the 60-pick era, which dates back to 2004, when Charlotte re-entered the league.
Interestingly, even though there were 14 trades that took place during the actual draft, only six picks that had not previously been traded already were actually on the move, so the 38 total picks that were eventually made by a team other than the one that “earned” it with its 2018-19 record are only the second-most during that same span of time. Still, it’s safe to say that Woj’s prediction of an extraordinary number of trades turned out to be right on the money. There were three more draft-day trades in 2019 than there had been in any of the previous 15 years. That’s pretty extraordinary.