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What happens to the Kings' First Round Pick?

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Sifting through the quagmire left behind by J.J. Hickson

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Around the Twitter/blogosphere, it seems to me that many fans still don't 100% understand the intricacy of the debts the Kings owe to the Sixers and Bulls on their first round pick. To be fair, its a bit of a mindbender thanks to the protections on the pick the Kings sent to the Cavs (which have now been traded to the Bulls) combined with this past summer's salary dump, so I made some flowcharts to help understand the different possibilities as the years come by.

2016 pick
Summary: The pick the Kings traded with Omri Casspi for J.J. Hickson is top ten protected. If the Kings do end up with a top ten pick, the Sixers have the option to swap their pick if they so desire. This is probably the easiest to understand since it's not too far in the future. No biggie.

2017 Pick

Summary: Hoo boy. There are basically two endgames here, either Chicago gets the pick or Philly has the option to swap. If the Bulls got the 2016 pick, then there is nothing owed to them, so Philly gets a straight swap option. Otherwise, it's the same deal as 2016, depending where the Kings land in the lottery. Thankfully, this is the last year that the Bulls have a claim on the Kings' pick; if they don't get the Kings first rounder, they technically get a second rounder. But the second rounder is so heavily protected it's worth nothing at all.

2018 Pick

Summary: The only obligation on this pick is to the Sixers, top ten protected. Unfortunately, the CBA's rule that a team can't be without first round picks in consecutive years mucks things up a bit. The Philly pick swaps don't make a difference since the Kings would still have a pick whether Philly swaps or not. But if Chicago gets that 2017 pick, the Kings must pick in 2018, and Philly would get the Kings' 2019 pick unprotected.

2019 pick

Summary: And finally, the crescendo of this long-ass tango. There are two ways the Kings keep their pick in 2018: either it falls under the top 10 protection latched onto the package sent to Philly, or it's CBA mandated because of what was owed to Chicago in 2017. If either of those happens, Philly gets the Kings' 2019 first rounder, no questions asked. Otherwise, the Kings are debt-free.

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Hopefully that clears things up a bit. Let me know in the comments if you catch any errors and I'll try to fix them. Its stupidly complicated, but we can all agree that its J.J. Hickson's fault.