Definition of Draft Pick Swap

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What does the term "Draft Pick Swap" mean when it comes to the NBA? What is meant by the term "draft pick swap"?

When you hear about trades in the NBA, you will often hear the term "draft pick swap" being used.

What is the meaning of the sports term Draft Pick Swap.  Basketball player Kevin Durant is in the photo, eying the hoop.For instance - when Kevin Durant was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns in February of 2023, the Nets received the rights to swap first-round picks with the Suns at the 2028 draft.

The draft pick swap is very straightforward - if the team that received the right to the swap picks higher than the team that gave the swap away, the two teams will swap first-round picks.

So, let's say that we are heading into the 2028 NBA Draft, and the Nets and Suns have these first-round pick positions:

Suns #7 Overall Pick
Nets #16 Overall Pick

The Nets own the right to swap first-round picks, which means that they would take the Suns first-round pick, while the Suns will end up with the #16 overall pick.


In constructing these deals, the team receiving the pick swap rights will request to swap picks in a year when they think that their trading partner will not be very good.

For instance, the Brooklyn Nets chose 2028 to swap picks with the Suns, as they figure that Durant will be close to retirement age by then, and the Suns will not be as good. Also, the Nets believe that they will be a much better team by 2028.

This is how the draft pick swap works in the NBA.