NBA Expansion Draft

The fight for the Stanley Cup began Monday night featuring the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals. It’s a remarkable achievement for the Golden Knights to reach the NHL finals in their first year as an expansion franchise.

It begs the question for NBA fans, could an expansion team reach the Finals in their first season back?

Acknowledging the differences in roster size and construction between the two leagues, I tried to create an NBA Expansion draft that was similar to the NHL’s. Here were the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft Rules:

Protection Rules:

  • Players with a No-Trade Clause
  • Players with 2 or Fewer Years of Service
  • Each team protects roughly 40% of their roster (9 in NHL, 4 in NBA)

If the 2018 NBA off season gets so crazy that Commissioner Silver finally decides to bring back the Seattle NBA franchise,  here is a look at Seattle’s expansion draft results…..

Shaun Livingston – PG/SG

(2017/18 Salary = $7,692,308)

The starting point guard for the first time head coach Becky Hammon has great size and length for his position. At 6’7 Livingston is a reliable mid range shooter and playmaker, and in spot minutes the 32 year old will provide a stable presence. S-Dot is one of many lanky defenders at Hammond’s dispense, able to defend across all wing positions.

Avery Bradley – SG


Bradley had an ill timed lost season as he was limited to 46 games before undergoing season ending groin surgery. Traded from the Pistons to the Clippers in the Blake Griffin deal, Bradley’s inability to stay on the floor will cost him at the bank ahead of his free agency this summer. It was only a year ago that Bradley provided tight perimeter defense, nearly 16 points per game and shot 39% from 3. A healthy Avery Bradley fits into the framework of this team as a versatile switchy defender who provides a decent scoring punch from the outside.

Trevor Ariza – F


Ariza, the gangly 16 year veteran, fits the defensive identity of this team and works as the ultimate glue guy. Offensively, Ariza spots up well behind the arch, and his mobility gives him the ability to move in open space and slice to the basket. Ariza is capable of defending the most dangerous wing scorers, with the most recent example being Ariza’s length making things tough on Kevin Durant in the Western Conference Finals.

Markieff Morris – F/C


Morris can be inconsistent with his defense and rebounding, but Morris does bring a nice mix of size, athleticism, and shot-making to the 4 position. Hammond’s starting lineup may struggle with shot creation at times, which is where Markieff’s ability to get a bucket while opening the floor up for play-makers is so valuable. This team is built to play in different ways, and if Morris doesn’t have a favorable matchup, this team has a few other options at the Power Forward.

 Ed Davis – C 


Similarly, Hammond can turn to many center options, but the springy Davis is a capable option. Davis is an elite offensive rebounder that can punish poor rebounding teams on the glass. Defensively, Davis uses his size and length to protect the rim and he is passable switching on the perimeter. Outside of gaining extra possessions, Ed Davis isn’t a large offensive threat with his range not being much further than catching lobs.

Marcus Smart  – SG


Marcus Smart may be the most frustrating person to watch in the entire NBA as his relentless hustle and competitive fire are unrivaled in the Association, much like his poor shot selection. Nevertheless, as a secondary ball handler of the bench Smart can set up his teammates and attack the basket, even if his jumper is a weaknesses. Smart is a absolute pest who makes winning plays and fits into the switchable stifling Sonic defense.

Dion Waiters – G/F 


Waiters is fearless attacking the basket but he was limited to 30 games this season before season ending ankle surgery. Waiters is comfortable with the ball in his hands and he got up to 39% in 2017 from 3 before taking a massive dip down to 30% this season. Waiters has struggled with his efficiency in the past, but Miami has brought out the better aspects of Waiters game, particularly his physical two way play.

Andre Iguodala  – G/F 


At 34 and cut like the statue of David, Iggy does not have the same burst in his knees as he used to in his prime days. Iguodala’s contribution when he is locked in can not be overstated as his defense is still excellent and his smart decision making is so valuable to the Warrior ecosystem. His absence was really felt in the last four games of the Western Conference Finals, as Iggy never turns the ball over, hits just enough threes, and sticks to opposing guards like glue.

Trey Lyles – PF/C 


Lyles gives Hammond a big man who can bomb threes, and the 22 year old took a big step forward last season, his third in the NBA and first in Denver. Lyles played primarily off the bench last season, but he averaged 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 threes per 36 minutes on the season. Lyles has room to grow to become a starting level player but his past season is encouraging for the former 12th overall pick.

Kyle Korver- G/F


Korver is the best three point shooter on this roster and the 37 year old is still whizzing around screens ready to fire. The marksmen gets his fair share of clean looks from Lebron James and at 43% the dependable Korver is still able to change the game off the bench.

Aron Baynes – C 


Baynes is an excellent rebounder, particularly defensively, and he is bigger and stronger than Davis. If the other team has a brute big man, a la Joel Embiid, Baynes gives Hammond a more physical option. Baynes is not the most automatic around the basket, but he is scrappy and knows his role.

PJ Tucker- F/C


Built like a brick wall, the stout Tucker is a menacing defender who buries corner three balls. Tucker is a great switch defender that gives Hammond the option to tinker with different lineups as the matchups dictate.

Dante Exum – PG/SG


The 6’6 22 year old point guard has battled injuries since the Jazz made him the 5th overall pick in 2014. Exum still has a ton of upside, with his ability to defend his position, carve through the lane and use his length to finish at the basket. Exum still needs to improve his decision making and his outside shot, but he has the upside that Seattle would look for in an expansion draft.

Jerami Grant – F/C


Grant brings insane athleticism to the table and he is yet another switchy defender that can guard multiple positions. Elite at drawing charges, Grant has a limited offensive game outside of attacking the offensive glass .


All in all the team cost $96,503,700 which is 97% of the cap. I think this team would be extremely competitive with it’s ability to defend the perimeter and stretch the floor. The team lacks a true superstar, but I aimed to have a deep roster that can play different styles. The nature of the protections makes star players unavailable, making it hard to see the Sonics slaying a super team, but this team can make life tough on any opponent.

Below is the available players pool and protected players based on my best guesses for who each organization would shield from the draft.


Greg Monroe,Marcus Smart (4,538,020), Aron Baynes (4,328,000) , Jeremy Lin, Demare Carroll (14,800,000), Jahlil Okafor, Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Noah Vonleh, Christiano Felicio, Jr Smith, Rodney Hood (2,386,864), Jordan Clarkson, Jeff Green, Kyle Korver (7,000,000), Seth Curry, Nerlons Noel, Doug McDermott, JJ Barea, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Trey Lyles (2,441,400), Mason Plumlee, Richard Jefferson, Ish Smith, Anthony Tolliver, Langston Galloway, Kevon Looney, Andre Iguodala (14,814,815), Shaun Livingston (7,692,308), Nick Young, Zaza Pachulia, Javale McGee, David West, Ryan Anderson, PJ Tucker (7,590,035), Luc Mbah Moute, Nene, Trevor Ariza (7,420,912), Gerald Green(1,381,404), Bojan Bogdanovic, Cory Joseph, Lance Stephenson, Avery Bradley (8,808,989), Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell (1,471,382), Austin Rivers, Wesley Johnson, Boban Marjanovic, Channing Frye, Luol Deng, Chandler Parsons, Jarell Martin, Mario Chalmers, Hassan Whiteside, Wayne Ellington (6,270,000), James Johnson, Dion Waiters (11,000,000), Dwayne wade, Eric Bledsoe, John Henson, Matthew Delladova, Tyler Zeller, Jason Terry, Gorgui Dieng, Nemanja Bjeilica, Taj Gibson (14,000,000), Derrick Rose, E’Twaun Moore (8,081,363),Solomon Hill, Rajon Rondo,Darius Miller (2,100,000), Ian Clark, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kyle O Quinn, Michael Beasley, Jarrett Jack, Carmelo Anthony, PAtrick Patterson, Raymond Felton, Jerami Grant (1,524,305), Bismack Biyombo, Terrence Ross, Mario Hezonja (4,078,320), Maresse Sepights, Arron Afflalo, Richaun Holmes, Jerryd Bayless, TJ Mcconnell, Amir Johnson, Elfrid Payton, Jared Dudley, Troy Daniels, Shabazz Napier, Ed Davis (6,352,531), Pat Conaughton, Evan Turner, Myers Leonard, Maurice Harkless, Iman Shumpert, Garrett Temple, Danny Green, Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker, Patty Mills, Lucas Nogueira, Delon Wright (1,645,200), Norman Powell, Cj Miles (7,936,508), Alec Burks, Dante Exum (4,992,385), Jae Crowder, Raul Neto, Jonas Jerebko, Thabo Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh, MArcin Gortat, Markieff Morris (8,000,000), Ian Mahinmi, Mike Scott, Tim Frazier, Jodie Meeks, Ty Lawson

NBA Teams Protected: (2 or Fewer Years in Italics)

Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Guerschon Yabusele, Daniel Theis, Abdel Nader, Semi Ojeleye, Terry Rozier, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving

Atlanta HawksMalcolm Delaney, Taurean Prince, Deandre Bembry, John Collins, Tyler Dorsey, Isiah Taylor (2), Kent Bazemore, Dennis Schroeder, Miles Plumlee, Dewayne Dedmon

Brooklyn Nets : Isiah Whitehead, Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Joe Harris

Charlotte Hornets – Willy Hernangomez, Treveon Graham, Malik Monk, Dwayne Bacon, Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd Gilchrist

Chicago BullsDenzel Valentine, Paul Zipser, Kris Dunn, David Nwaba, Lauri Markkanen, Zach Lavine, Bobby Portis, Robin Lopez, Justin Holiday

Cleveland Cavaliers – Ante Zizic, Cedi Osman, Okaro White, Lebron James, Kevin Love, George Hill, Larry Nance

Dallas MavericksDorian Finney Smith, Yogi Ferrell, Dennis Smith,Maxi Kleber, Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Wes Matthews, Dwight Powell

Denver Nuggets – Malik Beasley, Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez, Tyler Lydon, Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Will Barton

Detroit PistonsHenry Ellenson, Luke Kennard,Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson

Golden State Warriors – Patrick McCaw, Damian Jones, Jordan Bell, Quin Cook, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green

Houston Rockets- Chinanu Onuaku, Zhou Qi, James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon

Indiana PacersDomantas Sabonis, TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Darren Collison, Thaddeus Young

LA ClippersMilos Teodosic, Jawun Evans, Sindarius Thornwell, Cj Williams, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris, Deandre Jordan

LA LakersIvica Zubac, Brandon Ingram,Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart,Thomas Bryant, Julius Randle, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Brook Lopez, Isiah Thomas

Memphis GrizzliesAndrew Harrison, Deyonta Davis, Wayne Selden, Dillon Brooks, Ivan Rabb, Marc Gasol , Mike Conley, Tyreke Evans, Jamychal Green

Miami Heat – Rodney Mcgruder, Bam Adebayo,Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Kelly Olynyk

Milwaukee BucksThon Maker, Malcolm Brogdon, DJ Wilson, Sterling brown, Giannis Antetokuonmpo, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton, Tony Snell

Minnesota Timberwolves – Justin Patton, Marcus Geroges Hunt, Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague

New Orleans PelicansCheick Diallo, Frank Jackson, Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, Jrue Holiday, Nikola Mirotic

New York Knicks – Frank Ntilikina, Ron Baker, Damyean Dotson, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim hardaway, Courtney Lee, Enes Kanter

Oklahoma City ThunderAlex Abrines, Dakari Johnson, Terrence Ferguson , Russell Westbrook ,Paul George, Steven adams, Andre Roberson

Orlando Magic Johnathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Johnathan Simmons, Nikola Vucevic

Philadelphia 76ersJoel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu Cabarot, Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, Furkan Korkmaz, Robert Covington, JJ Reddick, Ersan Ilyasova, Marco Bellinelli

Phoenix SunsDragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, Josh Jackson, Davon Reed, Tyler Ulis, Tj Warren, Devin Booker,Alex Len, Tyson Chandler

Portland Trail BlazersJake Layman, Zach collins, Caleb Swanigan, Wade Baldwin, Damian Lillard, CJ Mccollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Al Farouq Aminu

Sacramento KingsSkal Labissiere, Buddy Hield, Harry Giles, Justin Jackson, De-Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Frank Mason, Willie Cauley Stein, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, Kosta Koufos

San Antonio SpursBryn Forbes, Davis Bertans, Dejounte Murray, Brandon PAul, Derrick White, Kawhi Leonard, Lamarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol

Toronto RaptorsMalachi Richardson, Jakob Poeltl, Paskal Siakam, Fred Vanvleet, OG Anunoby, Kyle Lowry, Demar Derozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Serge Ibaka

Utah JazzDonovan Mitchell, Royce O Neale, Rudy Gobert, Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors

Washington Wizards Tomas Satoransky, John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre


  1. This is extremely well thought out. Awesome job! I honestly hope they use these exact rules and protections to create the new-age Seattle Supersonics. This team would have a very good chance to compete for a playoff spot at the very least, even in the crowded Western Conference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the input. I agree with you about the playoffs, I view this roster as anywhere from a 4-8 seed in the Western Conference and definitely a tough playoff out.

      Liked by 1 person

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