Rob Kerr, Brisbane’s list manager, has re-introduced the concept of trading future draft picks. The system could emulate that of the NBA’s, but in a less complex fashion.
Right now, the current system of trading only this year’s draft picks isn’t working well enough. Teams are paying either well over what they should for a player, or the deals aren’t getting over the line.
You have to look no further than the Shaun Hampson deal last year. Most people believe Richmond parted with a pick that was well over what Hampson was worth. With the concept of future picks, Richmond could have parted ways with a 2014 second or third round pick. That future pick would be based on where Carlton finishes in 2014.
Obviously the risks are high. Taking a punt on where a team is going to finish is sometimes incredibly hard. However, it could certainly help in terms of building a team in a more suitable time frame.
For example, the 2014 draft crop is currently shaping up to have far more big men as high end talents than usual. For GWS, talls are not a priority. If the system was in place last year, they could have traded their 2014 first rounder for an excellent established player, whilst not affecting their building plans, as they would have still been able to take Tom Boyd and Josh Kelly with the first two picks.
The system of course, can backfire on teams. If you look to the NBA; the New York Knicks are in real strife. They have a less than ten percent chance of making the playoffs. However, they made the bold decision to trade away several first rounders in the past. This has left them with no first round draft pick until 2018. For a team that may be better off rebuilding, their gamble has failed big time. Crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets were earlier looking to be in the same boat. They don’t have a first round pick until 2020.
Both Kerr and Gold Coast list manager Scott Clayton have backed the idea, although the AFL Player’s Association has yet to discuss it.
This has happened before, with the compensation picks from the expansion clubs being saved for later drafts. The upside for player movement is enormous if it becomes available to all clubs. Perhaps restrictions should be made to avoid a Knicks style situation. Potentially trading only one or two years into the future might be the best way, as it won’t create a complete riot in the scheme of things.
The real issue is creating a complete divide throughout the competition. Future draft picks gives currency to the teams at the top of the ladder who usually could only offer fringe players or a later pick. Top up players could just strengthen teams for years, as they trade off their future picks without feeling any sense of remorse. Of course, the flipside is that the teams who receive all these picks could develop into scary squads. However, the chance of picks being busts is higher than established players becoming poor recruiting choices.
Whichever way you look at it, trading for future draft picks adds to the excitement of the draft and trading period.