Charlotte Hornets

Why Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak accumulates 2nd-round picks, plus a list of draft assets

With the signing of College of Charleston’s Joe Chealey, general manager Mitch Kupchak’s first Charlotte Hornets training-camp roster is at 19.
With the signing of College of Charleston’s Joe Chealey, general manager Mitch Kupchak’s first Charlotte Hornets training-camp roster is at 19. AP

Charlotte Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak views future draft picks as having rising value in the current NBA landscape, and he’s been acquiring and moving second-round picks over his first four months on the job.

Kupchak said Sunday there was a period during part of his 20 years running the Los Angeles Lakers when some draft picks — specifically, late in the first round and the second half of the second round — weren’t worth much. That’s in part because teams are required under the collective bargaining agreement to offer at least two salary-guaranteed seasons to all first-round rookies. Late second-round picks were sometimes viewed as having negligible value.

Kupchak said Sunday that trend has reversed, as teams look to manage their rosters and player payrolls, while developing young players through systems like G-League affiliations and two-way contracts.

“A lot of that has to do with collective bargaining and the rules and how they’ve changed over the years,” Kupchak said. “I think going forward, not only for the Hornets but just in general, the more picks you have the more you can use them” both to acquire rookies and to facilitate future trades.

As an example, Kupchak dealt two future seconds to the Atlanta Hawks on draft night to move into the 34th slot (early in the second round) and select Kansas point guard Devonte Graham, who has looked promising so far in Las Vegas summer league games.

With that in mind, a snapshot of the Hornets’ future draft picks, confirmed by the team as of Monday:

First-round picks

The Hornets retain all their own first-round picks 2019 through 2025, and don’t control any first-round picks from other teams.

Second-round picks

2019: Control a net two seconds. The Hornets lose their own to the Hawks. They will receive a pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder. They will also receive a second-round pick from either the Washington Wizards or Denver Nuggets, more likely the Wizards based on a formula that also involves the Milwaukee Bucks’ results next season.

2020: Control a net two seconds. The Hornets lose their own pick to the New York Knicks. They receive the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pick. They also receive the less favorable of the Knicks’ or Brooklyn Nets’ picks.

2021: Control a net two seconds. The Hornets lose their own pick to the Knicks. They receive picks from the Nets and Los Angeles Clippers.

2022: Control their own second. No other picks.

2023: Currently control no second-round picks. They owe their own to the Hawks.

2024: Control their own second. No other picks.

2025: Control their own second. No other picks.

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