"Maybe I'm just always thinking." - Troy Hudson, on why he rarely talks.

 

Unsigned NBA draft picks


Note: Player lists accurate as of 1st February 2014. I only mention this as I might not update immediately following any NBA transactions, because I'm both lazy and a bit forgetful.


  4th April 2011: The NBA Prospects Of The Unsigned NBA Draft Picks


 

Atlanta:


Alain Digbeu (50th pick, 1997)
Sofoklis Schortsanitis (34th pick, 2003)
Cenk Akyol (59th pick, 2005)
Sergiy Gladyr (49th pick, 2009)
Lucas Noguiera (16th pick, 2013)
Mike Muscala (44th pick, 2013)

Boston:


Colton Iverson (53rd pick, 2013)

Brooklyn:


Christian Drejer (51st pick, 2004)
Edin Bavcic (56th pick, 2006)
Bojan Bogdanovic (31st pick, 2011)
Ilkan Karaman (57th pick, 2012)

Charlotte:


None

Chicago:


Vladimir Veremeenko (48th pick, 2006)
Nikola Mirotic (23rd pick, 2011)

Cleveland:


Ejike Ugboaja (55th pick, 2006)
Sasha Kaun (56th pick, 2008)
Milan Macvan (54th pick, 2011)

Dallas:


Steve Logan (30th pick, 2002)
Petteri Koponen (30th pick, 2007)
Renaldas Seibutis (50th pick, 2007)
Tadija Dragicevic (53rd pick, 2008)

Denver:


Sani Becirovic (46th pick, 2003)
Xue Yuyang (57th pick, 2003)
Chukwudiebere Maduabum (56th pick, 2011)
Izzet Turkyilmaz (50th pick, 2012)
Erick Green (46th pick, 2013)
Joffrey Lauvergne (55th pick, 2013)

Detroit:


None

Golden State:


Mladen Sekularac (55th pick, 2002)

Houston:


Venson Hamilton (50th pick, 1999)
Axel Hervelle (52nd pick, 2005)
Brad Newley (54th pick, 2007)
Maarty Leunen (54th pick, 2008)
Sergio Llull (34th pick, 2009)
Jon Diebler (51st pick, 2011)
Kostas Papanikolaou (48th pick, 2012)
Marko Todorovic (45th pick, 2013)

Indiana:


Andrew Betts (50th pick, 1998)
Stanko Barac (39th pick, 2007)

L.A. Clippers:


None

L.A. Lakers:


Sergei Lishouk (49th pick, 2004)
Chinemelu Elonu (59th pick, 2009))
Ater Majok (58th pick, 2011)

Memphis:


Janis Timma (60th pick, 2013)

Miami:


Roberto Duenas (58th pick, 1997)
James Ennis (50th pick, 2013)

Milwaukee:


Andrei Fetisov (36th pick, 1994)
Eurelijus Zukauskas (54th pick, 1995)
Albert Miralles (39th pick, 2004)

Minnesota:


Lior Eliyahu (44th pick, 2006)
Henk Norel (47th pick, 2009)
Nemanja Bjelica (35th pick, 2010)
Paulao Prestes (45th pick, 2010)
Boris Dubljevic (59th pick, 2013)

New Orleans:


Pierre Jackson (42nd pick, 2013)

New York:


Ahmad Nivins (56th pick, 2009)

Oklahoma City:


Szymon Szewczyk (35th pick, 2003)
Paccelis Morlende (50th pick, 2003)
Yotam Halperin (53rd pick, 2006)
Giorgis Printezis (58th pick, 2007)
Tibor Pleiss (31st pick, 2010)
Latavious Williams (48th pick, 2010)
Alejandro Abrines (32nd pick, 2013)
Grant Jerrett (40th pick, 2013)

Orlando:


Ramon van der Hare (52nd pick, 2003)
Fran Vazquez (11th pick, 2005)
Milovan Rakovic (60th pick, 2007)

Philadelphia:


Furkan Aldemir (53rd pick, 2012)
Arsalan Kazemi (54th pick, 2013)

Phoenix:


Milos Vujanic (36th pick, 2002)
Dwayne Collins (60th pick, 2010)
Alex Oriakhi (57th pick, 2013)

Portland:


Marcelo Nicola (50th pick, 1993)
Federico Kammerichs (51st pick, 2002)
Nedzad Sinanovic (54th pick, 2003)

Sacramento:


Dejan Bodiroga (51st pick, 1995)

San Antonio:


Robertas Javtokas (56th pick, 2001)
Viktor Sanikidze (42nd pick, 2004)
Sergei Karaulov (57th pick, 2004)
Erazem Lorbek (46th pick, 2005)
Ryan Richards (49th pick, 2010)
Davis Bertans (42nd pick, 2011)
Adam Hanga (59th pick, 2011)
Marcus Denmon (59th pick, 2012)
Livio Jean-Charles (28th pick, 2013)
DeShaun Thomas (58th pick, 2013)

Toronto:


DeAndre Hulett (46th pick, 2000)
Tomislav Zubcic (56th pick, 2012)

Utah:


Peter Fehse (49th pick, 2002)
Mario Austin
(36th pick, 2003)
Ante Tomic (44th pick, 2008)
Shan Foster (51st pick, 2008)
Raul Neto (47th pick, 2013)

Washington:


Emir Preldzic (57th pick, 2009)
Tomas Satoransky (32nd pick, 2012)





What is this?


This list comprises all players drafted by NBA franchises, who have not been subsequently signed by their teams, and whose rights the team still owns. Unless the team relinquishes these rights - which isn't done without both the players agent asking very nicely and the team having no reason not to do so - these rights are held for as long as the player continues to play professionally in leagues other than the NBA. If that seems harsh, that's because it is.

Take Andrei Fetisov, for example. Fetisov was born in January 1972 (you do the maths), and drafted in 1994. He will never, ever, ever join the NBA. But why does Milwaukee continue to holds his rights, when they have no intention of signing him at any point? Well, the answer is that they're using him for his trade value. That probably seems like a stupid statement, given that the draft rights of someone who will never join the league have about as much use as a chocolate teapot. But it's not about the value of the rights per se; it's more of a technical issue.

In trades, both teams have to give up something. What that something is, is up to them. A player, pick, or cash are options. But sometimes, they don't want to (or can't) give those things up. So they have to give up at least something, even if only as a token gesture. That's where these scrub's draft rights become useful. They can act as the "something" given up in a trade. A team can give up the draft rights to a player as their outgoing half of a trade, and add in nothing more if they so wish.

That may sound like it's farfetched and would never happen. Yet it does. It's rare, but it does occasionally happen. For example, when Peja Stojakovic left Indiana to sign with New Orleans in July 2006, Indiana asked New Orleans - with a cash incentive to convince New Orleans to help them - to make the transaction a sign-and-trade, rather than an outright signing. The act of doing this garnered Indiana a mahoosive trade exception, which allowed them to promptly acquire Al Harrington, something that they could not previously have done without the trade exception. However, the trade had Indiana giving New Orleans some cash and Stojakovic, but New Orleans not giving out any players or draft picks back to Indiana. (And why would they add any? They're the ones doing Indiana the favour.) This meant that they had to give up something else in the trade, and the thing that they wound up forfeiting were the draft rights to Andy Betts, a beautiful and fantastic Englishman drafted in 1998 who won't play in the NBA. It's not much, but it's 'something'. And that's all that they needed it to be.

Another example, from the 2008 trade deadline, saw the Memphis Grizzlies as the third team in a two team trade between Houston and New Orleans (again). The Rockets traded Mike James and Bonzi Wells to the Hornets for Bobby Jackson, in a move to get Houston under the luxury tax threshold. However, New Orleans welcomed the new players (well, Bonzi, at least), but they needed to give more outgoing salary to make the trade work for them. So they needed to include the minimum salaries of Adam Haluska and Marcus Vinicius. Houston could afford to take back Haluska, but not Vinicius as well, for that would put them back into the tax territory and make the whole move rather pointless for them. In stepped Memphis, who took on the salary cap number of Vinicius to make the trade possible, and who then promptly waived him. However, to take on Vinicius, the rules, as always, said that Memphis had to give up at least something to make the deal work. The 'something' that they chose were the draft rights to Sergei Lishouk, who was drafted in 2004 who did not pan out, and who will never join the NBA. Had they not held Lishouk's rights for all of these years, they wouldn't have been able to deal them, and thus they wouldn't be a part of the trade.

(Why Memphis wanted to be in this trade in the first place is a bit baffling, given that they didn't get any cash, players, or a pick for their troubles, and just seem to have taken on someone else's committed salary without getting any incentive to do so. Strange times. Also, note that Memphis actually got back some draft rights, too - since Lishouk was their only player whose unsigned draft rights they held, they asked Houston for a new one back, and got those of Malick Badiane back. Badiane didn't figure to ever join the NBA, but the 0.05% possibility of him doing so was ever so slightly more attractive to Memphis than the 0% certainty of Venson Hamilton - another player whose rights Houston owns - ever joining, and so that's why they asked for Badiane's instead. As it happens, Badiane signed for training camp in 2008, and was waived quickly. This bracket is getting longer and duller.)

Very rarely, retaining these rights is worth something. For example, in summer 2007, Washington bagged a first round pick from Memphis for the rights to Juan Carlos Navarro, and San Antonio used the value of Luis Scola's rights to be able to weasel their way under the luxury tax. Sacramento tried to get a first round pick for Dejan Bodiroga back in the early part of this decade, and the Thunder could turn Tibor Pleiss's rights into maybe something of value if they wanted to do so. For the most part, though, these players attatched to these draft rights are bobbins, and thus the value of the rights in trades is used only as a technicality.

To retain these draft rights, all the team has to do is extend them a contract offer by a certain date every season. With the exception of unsigned first round draft choices, of which there are only three (Petteri Koponen, Livio Jean-Charles, Lucas Nogueira, Nikola Mirotic and Fran Vazquez), these offers can be - and in practice, always are - fully unguaranteed one year minimum salary contracts. (In the case of the first rounders, the minimum is 80% of the rookie scale contract for their draft slot that season, with the usual guarantees of any rookie scale contract.) The players can in theory sign these contracts if they want, but in practice they don't. There's no point. In the case of the truly scrubby players, the NBA franchise will just waive the player before they get out of the baggage claim. As such, these players rights continue to be held by the NBA teams for as long as the player keeps playing in professional leagues other than the NBA. (The teams lose the rights to the players exactly one year to the day after the expiration of the player's most recent professional contract. So if they keep playing, and the team keeps extending the offers, then the player's rights continue to be held.)

It has happened before where such offers are accepted when they aren't supposed to be. It rarely ends well. After the 2006 draft, the Lakers heavily advised their second round draft pick J.R. Pinnock to go to Europe, for there was no way he was going to make the roster that year. They extended the minimum offer of the one year unguaranteed minimum salary contract, but told J.R. not to bother signing it, for it was futile. Pinnock didn't listen, signed the contract, went to camp to battle for his place, lost, got waived, and now his rights - and his ticket back to the NBA one day - are gone forever. The same situation happened in summer 2007 with Demetris Nichols, who went to the Knicks despite them asking him not to, just to get waived. (His story has a happier ending - he was subsequently claimed off waivers, twice, once by Cleveland and once by Chicago, and ended up seeing out the season.) However, sometimes, it's been productive - Chris Duhon signed with the Bulls against their wishes, went to training camp, won his roster spot fair and square (beating out the two rival point guards with guaranteed contracts in Jermaine Jackson and Mike Wilks), and Duhon wound up starting most of the year for them and earning himself a $9.6 million contract. Carl Landry of Houston also got a nice $9 million payday after taking the same risk and succeeding (and should have gotten an even nicer one). But generally, it's not a god idea, and so it is not common practice to accept these offers.



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