The first reported transaction of the NBA draft came well into the lottery and didn’t involve any of this year’s top prospects. Instead, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri sent backup point guard Greivis Vasquez to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for the No. 46 pick in Thursday’s draft and a lottery-protected, 2017 first-round draft pick that was originally owned by the Clippers. The details were first reported by ESPN and Yahoo! Sports.
Should the first-round pick that the Raptors are owed not convey in 2017, the pick will default as a lottery-protected first rounder in 2018, or subsequently (should its protections activate in that year's draft) in 2019. If the Clippers' pick falls in the lottery during each of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons, this debt will instead convey as a pair of second-round picks (in 2020 and 2021).
It's unclear why the Bucks would give up two picks – including a future first round pick, for which other teams have paid handsomely in other transactions – for Vasquez. Milwaukee could view Vasquez as a superior option to Jerryd Bayless, although both are prone to similar stretches of bold, sloppy play. While Vasquez’s ability to play the passing lanes is well-suited to Milwaukee’s defensive style, this deal still doesn't make much sense. Landing a marginal upgrade over Bayless for $6.6 million in cap space, a future first-round pick and an immediate trade chip is remarkably thriftless.
Toronto, in addition to the acquired picks, sheds salary at a point where cap space could be of consequence. Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, starting power forward Amir Johnson and reserve Tyler Hansbrough are all unrestricted free agents. Depending on where they decide to play in the 2015–16 season, the Raptors could be primed for either salary-flexible dealing or mid-level signings. Nothing in Toronto should be nailed down at this point, and moves like this one only augment Ujiri’s capacity to make further beneficial trades down the line.