NBA

Who each Western Conference team would protect in an expansion draft

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With rumours flying around about a potential expansion in the NBA following the completion of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, we thought it would be fun to look at what that could mean for the league. 

An expansion draft would ensue if more teams were added, so here is who we believe would be held onto by each franchise in the Western Conference. Here is the Eastern Conference edition. 

Remember, each team can only secure eight players. 

Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic, Danilo Gallinari, Jusuf Nurkic, Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, Kenneth Faried, Will Barton, Jamal Murray

Minnesota Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn, Gorgui Dieng, Cole Aldrich, Nemanja Bjelica 

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There arguably isn't a better young eight in the league than what the Timberwolves could protect. Their future is so, so bright. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo, Stephen Adams, Domantas Sabonis, Enes Kanter, Cameron Payne, Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines

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Kyle Singler's three-point shooting has earnt rave reviews in recent weeks, but the 28-year-old would be one of the players to bite the dust while Nick Collison, at 35, would also be unprotected. 

Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Noah Vonleh 

Utah Jazz

Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood, Dante Exum, Trey Lyles, Alec Burks, George Hill

Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Zaza Pachulia, Shaun Livingston, Patrick McCaw

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Most of the Warriors' eight speaks for itself, but veteran West miss out to accommodate the secure use of McCaw. The likelihood would be that the former Spurs man would go undrafted. 

L.A. Clippers

Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Marreese Speights, Brice Johnson, Raymond Felton

L.A. Lakers

D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr, Luol Deng, Ivica Zubac, Tariq Black

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British forward Deng was a last-ditch choice for the Lakers purely for the fact he would likely be picked up in a draft. Anthony Brown, who missed out for Deng, would be more likely to return to the City of Angels. 

Phoenix Suns

Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Brandon Knight, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, Tyler Ulis, Alex Len

Sacramento Kings

DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Darren Collison, Rudy Gay, Aaron Afflalo, Skal Labissiere, Omri Caspi, Kosta Koufos

Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Justin Anderson, Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams, Andrew Bogut, Seth Curry, Dwight Powell

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Despite his age and injuries, a player like Bogut is an elite rim protector and is more worthing of a spot in the top eight than a guy like J.J. Barea.

Houston Rockets

James Harden, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, K.J. McDaniels

Memphis Grizzlies

Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph Tony Allen, JahMichael Green, Brandan Wright, James Ennis

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He may be a future Hall of Famer, but expansion drafts are all about protecting your stars and future, so Vince Carter would go unprotected. 

New Orleans Pelicans

Anthony Davis, Buddy Hield, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Cheick Diallo, E'Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway, Quinn Cook

San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, Kyle Anderson, Dejounte Murray

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Of course, veteran players Ginobili and Pau Gasol could always retire, and it is likely both guys would be snapped up given their ability, but due to his relationship with San Antonio we picked to keep the Argentine. 

Topics:
San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
New Orleans Pelicans
Dallas Mavericks
Sacramento Kings
Pacific Division
Minnesota Timberwolves
Northwest Division
Houston Rockets
LA Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder
Phoenix Suns
LA Clippers
Utah Jazz
Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State Warriors
Memphis Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets

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