"It's an interesting process. It's sort of like negotiating to buy a house if there is no list price. That said, everyone has a little history on their side that helps them.
Take a second round pick; there's not this sort of a "chart" that exists in the NFL. That said, teams have sold them in the past, and they have some sense of what they've gone for in the past. People talk. If you're an aggressive team, you might collect that data and build your own chart. That gives you some ballpark to know what might be reasonable.
First round picks have a different constraint. There is a limit on the amount of money that you can put into a particular deal. If you're talking about buying a pick, which is what most often happens in the NBA draft, there is a limit, which is 3 million dollars. I think history would show that 3 million dollars would buy you in - some years late in the first round. But what you'll also see is that picks in the lottery, or near there, have been much, much harder to come by, and that cash alone, if it's limited to 3 million, won't do it, and that you'll need to trade players of real value to get up that high."
So, uh, about that Chase Budinger thing. Unless Detroit's economy is really bad, and unless they want 3 million bucks to go after Carlos Boozer really badly, I've suddenly become less excited about moving up to the fifteenth slot. Trading away "a player of real value" would mean trading a Scola, or a Brooks, or a Battier, or even a Landry (we'll be holding on to McGrady, either for the cash or for a better deal. Or better yet...for the talent!). I'm not certain what Hinkie's definition of "real value" is, but he did go on to use the Ray Allen/Boston trade as an example. If that was for the sixth overall pick, then one of our less significant starters or top bench players seems like a likely trading chip for the fifteenth pick.
I don't want that, and neither should you.
Can you name a player in the 15-20 slot who could be as good as any of the significant players that we have? And when I mean "as good as," I not only refer to talent, but how they fit in with our roster as well. Is the addition of Budinger worth the subtraction of Luis Scola? No. How about Terrence Williams over Aaron Brooks? No. Mix and match all you want - nothing fits. Unless a miracle happens, no player that would truly be "worth it" will slip down to the 15-20 range, at least none of the position that we'd like to address. DeMar DeRozan would be the only shooting guard worth a look, but he won't get past Charlotte at number 12.
Based solely off of what Hinkie assumes the market to be for a first rounder, you can pretty much kiss a lottery pick or immediate post-lottery pick (15-20) goodbye. There is room for a miracle deal, but it's highly unlikely. To be honest, the scenario wasn't very probable to begin with. Now we have enough information to firmly shove it away in the "Unless God Owes Me Something..." department.
Just as a preliminary thought, three million for a late first rounder won't hurt us much at all. My guess now is that we'll settle for the second rounder, as shooting guards thin out after Budinger and Williams. Unless we go after Sam Young in the late first (which would be fine by me), look for guys like Jermaine Taylor, Micah Downs, Jerel McNeal, or Joe Ingles. Other probables are Wayne Ellington and Danny Green from UNC, but they, unlike the others, have yet to work out for Houston. I'm holding strong to the idea that we'll be looking for a 2 guard or athletic small forward.