More than four years after the Chicago Bulls received a future first-round draft pick from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for forward Tyrus Thomas, they finally know when they'll be able to use that selection.
At the 2010 trade deadline the Bulls shipped Thomas to Charlotte for Acie Law, Flip Murray and a future first round pick. The deal stipulated that the pick was lottery-protected (Top 14) in 2012, and that year the Bobcats drafted second, taking Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Last year the pick was Top 12 protected, and the Bobcats selected fourth, drafting Indiana's Cody Zeller.
This season the pick is top-10 protected, though the Bobcats clinched a playoff berth with tonight's victory over the Cavaliers, meaning the first-round pick will fall, at worst, at No. 15. The pick was top-8 protected in 2015 and unprotected in 2016, but with a young, rising team led by blooming star point guard Kemba Walker and the vastly underrated Al Jefferson, it's unlikely that 2016 pick was going to yield a top-5 pick like it seemed a few years ago when they were bottom feeders in the Eastern Conference.
Two weeks ago Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam wrote a piece on potential collegiate prospects the Bulls could go after. Assuming the Bobcats lose in the first round and the Bulls advance to at least the second round, the Bulls should have two picks in the first 20 selections of the draft.