In past years, trades have played a massive role in the overall outcome of the draft. In many cases, we don't really understand the importance of these deal until months or years after they happen.
In 2006, Boston acquired the 21st pick, which turned into Rajon Rondo, plus Brian Grant and cash considerations for a future first round pick.
The 2007 season saw Danny Ainge continue to make big draft trades. He sent the No. 5 pick plus Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West to Seattle for Ray Allen and a second-round pick that turned into Big Baby Davis. Those trades helped turn the fortunes of a franchise and resulted in a championship.
In 1998, the Mavericks landed Dirk Nowitzki in a draft-day trade. Thirteen years later, they hoisted the championship trophy, with Dirk as the centerpiece of their team.
Only time will tell, but you'll find my snap judgements for that and all the other draft-night trades right here.
Milwaukee, Sacramento and Charlotte kicked the night off by agreeing to a trade with the following terms:
--The Bucks get Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, Beno Udrih and the 19th pick which turned into Tobias Harris.
--Charlotte gets the 7th pick, which turned into Bismack Biyombo, and Cory Maggette.
--The Kings get John Salmons and the 10th pick in the draft, which turned into Jimmer Fredette.
Bucks -- B-
As John Hollinger puts it, the Bucks are hitting the "undo" button on a couple of ill-fated moves. They swap Jackson for Magette, and add a couple of perimeter players to provide depth behind Brandon Jennings.
The downside is that Jackson, a notorious malcontent in most of his NBA stops, might not be too pleased to find himself in Milwaukee. Indeed, ESPN's Ric Bucher is reporting that he's not happy with the deal.
At 19, the Bucks added Tobias Harris out of Tennessee. Something of a "tweener," Harris has room to improve in both the inside and outside parts of his game. He also lacks polish, having left school after only one season. (Though with the turmoil going on at Tennessee you can't really blame him.)
Charlotte -- B+
Charlotte wants to rebuild under Michael Jordan. In this trade they shed a couple of players they were probably never going to win a championship with, and pick up an athletic big man prospect in Bismack Biyombo.
No one questions Biyombo's potential, but at only 18 years old he's incredibly raw and at present lacks offensive skill.
Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski also reports that Biyombo has some contract complications with his former team in Spain that could delay his NBA debut. The Spanish team, Fuenlabrada is suing over his release, and the legal wrangling may not be resolved by the start of the NBA season.
It could be shades of Michael Jordon's infamous Kwame Brown pick from 10 years ago.
Charlotte also held the #9 pick, which they used to pick UConn's Kemba Walker. Walker is a much more polished player who should be able to contribute something on day one. The Bobcats may have hedged their bets with these two picks -- and you can't blame them for that.
Kings -- D
Hollinger absolutely kills the Kings here. They moved three spots DOWN in a weak draft, and swapped Udrih for Salmons. Problem is, by almost any metric Udrih is the better player.
To top it off, the Kings used their pick to take Jimmer Fredette, another shooting guard to pair with Salmons and Tyreke Evans. At best, Jimmer becomes a solid scorer in the NBA. At worst, he's Dan Dickau 2.0.
The Pacers also sent the 42nd pick in the draft, which turned into Davis Bertans, and the rights to Erazem Lorbek to the Spurs in the deal.
Spurs Grade -- B
Coming out of San Diego State in the Pac-10, Leonard is polished and athletic. He should be able to contribute right away and allow the Spurs to replace the aging Richard Jefferson.
A VERY slender 6'10'', Bertans has been playing in the Slovenian league. His numbers there aren't stellar, but he's young with plenty of room on his frame to develop. He made a name for himself at April's Nike Hoop Summit, and the Spurs' scouts must have seen something they like.
Pacers Grade -- B+
In George Hill, the Pacers get a guy many thought was the heir apparent to Tony Parker. Either the Spurs saw something NOT to like that nobody else saw, or the Pacer's got themselves a combo guard who can score and take ball-handling pressure off of Darren Collison and A.J. Price.
In return for proven talent, the Pacers only gave up a couple of giant question marks -- two late picks in a weak draft.
The Timberwolves moved Johnny Flynn and Donatas Motiejunas (their pick at #20) the Houston Rockets for Brad Miller, Nikola Mirotic (the 23rd pick), Chandler Parsons (the 38th pick) and a future first-rounder.
T-Wolves Grades -- A
The Wolves took Flynn with the 6th overall pick in the 2009 draft, but they obviously felt he wasn't a part of their future anymore with Ricky Rubio now on the way. In return for Flynn, they pick up a boatload of potential by turning around and trading Mirotic to the Bulls for picks 28, 43 and cash.
These are low picks, but that doesn't mean the T-wolves can't strike gold with one of them. Meanwhile they knew what they had with Flynn and they had no use for him.
The 28th pick turned into Norris Cole, but the T-Wolves weren't done yet. They flipped Cole to Miami for the 31st pick in the draft and cash -- we'll get to that deal in a couple of slides.
The 43rd pick became Malcolm Lee, an All-Pac-10 point guard out of UCLA.
Rockets Grade -- B
6'10'' Donatas Motiejunas was one of the top power forwards in the draft. Scouts call him a good athlete, rebounder and shot blocker who can also run the floor.
On the other hand, Flynn was pretty much a bust in Minnesota. But maybe a change of scenery is exactly what he needs. Rockets' GM Daryl Morey has been right before.
The Bulls pick up Nikola Mirotic from the T-Wolves in exchange for Norris Cole (the 28th pick) and Malcolm Lee (the 43rd pick)
Bulls Grade -- N/A
In Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls got one of the top players in Europe, a 6'10'' forward with good outside touch.
The snag is that his contract with Real Madrid in Spain runs through 2016, so Chicago fans won't be seeing him for awhile. If he fulfills his potential, he could be the steal of this draft, and Chicago has a very strong roster so they can't be blamed for gambling on huge potential here ... but we won't know how this trade turned out for a very long time.
Minnesota Grade -- B+
The T-Wolves continued to stock up on picks. They moved the #28 pick Norris Cole to the Heat for the 31st pick (Bojan Bogdanovic) plus cash.
They also got the Bulls' second-rounder, the aforementioned Malcolm Lee.
Minnesota had quite an active draft. After acquiring the 28th pick in the draft and picking Norris Cole, they flipped that pick to Miami for the 31st pick in the draft, Bojan Bogdanovic, plus a future Heat second-round pick and cash.
Miami Grade -- B+
Miami needed a ball handler who can also contribute to the stifling team defense that has become the Heat's trademark. A point guard who was Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the year while at Cleveland State (where he stayed until his junior year), Cole should fit right in to both the Heat's culture and style of play.
Minnesota Grade -- C
Was Minnesota GM David Kahn just bored? There was good value on the board at 28 in Norris Cole. A 6'7'' swingman, according to SI.com, Bogdanovic is a defensive liability even in Europe. On top of that, he may have to continue playing with his Turkish team for awhile before he can head to the U.S. and start developing his NBA game.
The Wolves will have to do something pretty spectacular with their future considerations to make this deal worth giving up a more certain player in Cole.
Two Eastern conference franchises in extremely different situations pulled a swap on Thursday night. The New Jersey Nets traded JaJuan Johnson, the 27th pick in the draft, in exchange for Marshon Brooks, who the Celtics took at #25. The Celtics also got the Nets' 2014 2nd round pick in the deal.
Nets Grade -- B
It's hard to criticize the Nets for grabbing Marshon Brooks, a 6'5'' shooting guard who played four years of Big East basketball. Brooks once scored 52 points in a Big East game against Notre Dame.
This is exactly the type of player that can put up surprising performances in the NBA. Brooks is mature enough to know his game, and he'll be able to help the Nets immediately. Lord knows they could use it.
Then again, what the heck is a rebuilding franchise doing trading future picks?
Celtics Grade -- A
A 6'10'' forward out of Purdue, the Celtics got another major conference player in JaJuan Johnson. Johnson is a bit raw for a college junior, but he has size and athleticism, two things the Celtics are short on at the moment.
The 2014 pick will also come in handy. As the Patriots have proven in the NFL, it's always a good idea to stockpile draft assets. With their veteran roster, the Celtics might soon need the options this extra pick provides them with.
In trading their second round pick Justin Harper to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Orlando's second-round picks in 2013 and 2014, the Cleveland Cavaliers did what a rebuilding franchise should do.
Given that the Cavs had two lottery picks in this draft, they already got a good haul. If they weren't in love with Harper it makes all the sense in the world to punt the pick for more options in the future.
Cavaliers Grade -- A
Harper was one of the Atlantic 10's best players in his senior season, but, according to SI.com, he can be overly-reliant on the outside shot for his scoring -- especially for a 6'10'' forward.
Magic Grade -- C
Not sure what the Magic are thinking with this deal. They must really like what they see in Harper, and he did shoot 44 percent on his 3-pointers last season.
At the same time, the Magic are staring a Dwight Howard-less future in the face right now. They could use the picks in 2013 and 2014 either to select cheap, useful players or to swing more trades. Now those options are off the table.
The New Orleans Hornets only had one pick in Thursday night's draft, and they traded it to the Knicks for some cold hard cash.
According to the AP, the Hornets and the Knicks had agreed on the deal before the pick was made, so essentially the Knicks bought a pick straight-up.
Knicks Grade -- A
The New York Knicks have plenty of money, and that's all it took to get Josh Harrellson. They didn't lose any draft picks or cap space in making the move, and in that sense it's a win-win for them.
Harrellson is a 6'10'' center out of Kentucky who scouts say lacks the muscle needed to compete in the NBA. Still, he played well for Kentucky in the NCAA tournament, and he's a no-risk, high-reward deal for the Knicks. What's not to like?
Hornets Grade - D
The Hornets say they're going to rebuild their team through free agency, so theoretically the money they brought in tonight from the Knicks will help them there. But increasingly the best free agents are focusing on marquee teams like the Heat, Lakers and Knicks. No offense to Hornets fans, but their team isn't in that category at the moment.
It would make more sense for the Hornets to try to rebuild through the draft the way other small-market teams like the Thunder and Trailblazers have.
The Dallas Mavericks signaled to the rest of the league that they're not satisfied to rest on their championship laurels.
The Mavs sent both of their picks to the Portland Trailblazers for Spanish shooting guard Rudy Fernandez.
Marvericks Grade -- A
The Mavericks go from strength to strength here, adding another rangy three point shooter. At 26, Fernandez can be a part of the Mavericks' foundation for many years, so it's not like they're simply mortgaging their future for an immediate-impact scorer.
Besides, the Mavericks are facing some tough free agency decisions with Caron Butler Peja Stojakovic. If neither of those players return, they'll need to replace the scoring.
The Mavs also pick up Petteri Koponen in the deal -- a Finnish point guard who will play in Europe next season.
Trailblazers Grade -- A
This is one of those rare cases where everyone gets what they want. The 'Blazers got picks they needed to increase their draft flexibility -- which they used to make another trade with the Denver Nuggets.
The Trailblazers moved point guard Andre Miller and the #26 pick they got from the Dallas Mavericks for Denver Nuggets PG Raymond felton.
Denver also got a future second round pick in the deal.
Trailblazers Grade -- B
In Felton, the 'Blazers fill a need. Veteran Andre Miller performed well for the team, but he was no longer a dynamic player.
Nuggets Grade -- B+
The Nuggets had a surplus a point guard with Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson. They needed to commit to one and now it appears they have. Andre Miller will serve as a valuable veteran backup.
Adding a future second round pick also doesn't hurt the deal from Denver's perspective.