Season two has wrapped up and the next major event on the NBA 2K League calendar is the expansion draft.
That means it’s time for every team in the league, sans Hornets Venom GT who will have the expansion draft honors, to protect up to three players (you can read more about the offseason structure and protection/retention procedure here) before the Hornets get to make the franchise’s first-ever selections. Teams must submit their protections between Aug. 19 and Sept. 2.
We’re keeping track of every announced player protection and retention, in alphabetical order by team.
Protected (announced Aug. 30): Radiant, Steez, Breadwinner
The season-two runners-up brought back three players, including franchise cornerstones Radiant and Steez as well as 2019 first-round pick Breadwinner.
Protected (announced Sept. 2): Mama Im Dat Man, OneWildWalnut, LavishPhenom
The league’s top regular season team held onto back-to-back MVP winners Mama Im Dat Man and OneWildWalnut, as well as veteran, vocal leader Lavish.
Protected (announced Aug. 27): ARooks, Plondo
After a hot start and slow finish to season two, Bucks Gaming announced it will protect scoring machine ARooks (top-five in points per game for season two) and 2019 6th overall pick Plondo, a first team All-Rookie honoree.
Cavs Legion GC
Protected (announced Aug. 22): oLarry, All Hail Trey, Godddof2k
Cavs Legion GC became the second team to protect three players, keeping oLarry, All Hail Trey and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Godddof2k for next season. Don’t be surprised to see them bring back a fourth after the expansion draft, either.
Celtics Crossover Gaming
Protected (announced Sept. 27): oFab, Mel East, No Autographs
Retained (announced Oct. 24): Bully (at cost of first-round draft pick)
The trio of Pro-Am teammates are back in Boston and will look to capitalize on a season that saw them reach the playoff semifinals.
The retention of Bully makes it four players who will return to Celtics Crossover, plus the addition of MOAM in an offseason trade. The Celtics will have a full starting lineup already heading into the season three entry draft.
Protected (announced Sept. 2): AuthenticAfrican, Vandi
Retained (announced Nov. 15): DDouble2K (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
Grizz Gaming is bringing back its franchise staple in AuthenticAfrican, as well as stand-out rookie point guard Vandi.
Hawks Talon GC
Protected (announced Aug. 21): Dat Boy Shotz, Rando
Retained (announced Nov. 13): MrStylez (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
Season two expansion franchise Hawks Talon GC got off to a promising start in its inaugural season but couldn’t sustain its early success. The team will try again next year with franchise player Dat Boy Shotz and 2019 second-round pick Rando, who got reps in as both a sharpshooter and point guard in his rookie campaign.
After shipping off both Shotz and Stylez and acquiring BP in a trade, the team retained MrStylez, last season’s fourth-overall pick, in exchange for a fourth-round selection.
Heat Check Gaming
Protected (announced Sept. 2): Hotshot, Majestic
Retained (announced Oct. 24): MOAM (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
Heat Check’s top two picks from the inaugural 2018 draft will remain with the team as they announced the protections of Hotshot and Majestic.
The Heat briefly retained MOAM before trading him to Celtics Crossover Gaming.
Protected (announced Sept. 2): Yeah I Compete, Ria, Lottyy
Jazz Gaming protects both of their first-round picks from 2018 and 2019, Yeah I Compete and Ria, as well as Lottyy, whom they traded for this season.
Kings Guard Gaming
Protected (announced Sept. 2): Bp, Yusuf_Scarbz, BallLikeSeem
Kings Guard Gaming is bringing back ROTY candidate BP, Yusuf_Scarbz and sharpshooter BallLikeSeem to Sacramento after a surprise playoff season in 2019.
Protected (announced Aug. 22): Goofy757, Malik
Retained (announced Oct. 24): Hazzaa_Hurst (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
Season one champions Knicks Gaming announced they’ll be protecting star big man Goofy and 2019 first-round pick Malik, just a day after point guard iamadamthe1st announced his retirement from the league.
In October, the Knicks announced that they would retain Hazzaa Hurst, one of the league’s international players, whom the 2018 champions selected with the final pick of the 2019 entry draft.
Protected (announced Sept. 2): Mootyy and Vert
Retained (announced Nov. 6): Kev (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
Lakers Gaming heads into the offseason in full-rebuild mode but each team is required to keep two players at least. They made it official by announcing the protections of Mootyy and Vert.
Last year’s second-round sharpshooter Kev is also coming back after an impressive rookie season with the expansion side.
Protected (announced Sept. 2): Reizey, DT, ToXSiK
Magic Gaming announced it is bringing back its core three of Reizey, DT and ToXSiK. No questions here as they bring back two of the more impressive rookies from season two in Reizey and DT, as well as the huge midseason addition in ToXSiK.
Protected (announced Aug. 20): Dimez, PeteBeBallin and Sherm
Mavs Gaming followed suit shortly after Wizards DG, announcing they would protect franchise point guard Dimez along with 2019 first- and second-round picks PeteBeBallin and Sherm, respectively.
“It feels great to be back another year to play for such an amazing organization,” said Sherm. “There isn’t anywhere I’d rather play. I feel like we had the pieces this year but came up short. Next year we’re going to grind twice as hard to go farther and have a more successful season.”
Per the new offseason structure, the protection of a third player will cost the team a third-round pick in the 2020 entry draft.
Protected (announced Aug. 28): NateKahl, Shuttles
Retained (announced Oct. 21): Wavy.zay (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
NetsGC became the second of the season two expansion teams to announce its protections, keeping first-ever pick NateKahl and 2019 second-round pick Shuttles in Brooklyn for next season.
Following the expansion draft, the Nets became the first team to announce a retention as it will keep point guard Wavy.zay on the roster at the cost of a fourth-round pick.
Protected (announced Sept. 2): WoLF, Ramo, Swizurk
Pacers Gaming adds itself to the list of teams that protects three players prior to the expansion draft. This is the same core Pacers Gaming came into season two with, as well.
Protected (announced Sept. 2): May, DevGoss
Retained (announced Oct. 21): Joseph the Truth (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
The Pistons brought back the net return of their two 2019 first-round picks, with 16th overall selection May and DevGoss—acquired from Hawks Talon GC for fourth overall pick MrStylez—earning the nod.
The team also retained big man Joseph the Truth, who will return to Detroit for a third consecutive season.
Raptors Uprising GC
Protected (announced Aug. 28): Kenny, Sick
Retained (announced Oct. 21): Doza (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
Raptors Uprising GC surprised few with the announcement they’ve protected Kenny and Sick from September’s expansion draft. Kenny is the team’s first-round pick from 2018 and Sick was acquired in a trade for All Hail Trey during the 2019 season.
The team briefly retained Doza at the cost of a fourth-round draft pick then sent him to Cavs Legion GC as part of a trade.
Protected (announced Sept. 2): BearDaBeast, iFeast, JMoneyReps817
Retained (announced Oct. 31): JoJo (at cost of second-round draft pick)
The defending champs have officially announced their protections. Nothing shocking here as they bring back the backbone of their franchise in BearDaBeast, the anchor for their defense in iFeast and the other half of their outstanding backcourt duo in JMoney.
Minnesota will keep as much of its championship core as possible, retaining the big man JoJo at the cost of a second-round pick. Minus Turnupdefense, selected in the expansion draft, the T-Wolves will head into season three with most of its roster intact.
Warriors Gaming Squad
Protected (announced Sep. 2): BSmoove, Gradient, CB13
Retained (announced Oct. 21): Jin (at cost of second-round pick)
The two-time tournament champions have finally made their protections official, deciding to bring back BSmoove, Gradient and CB13.
Unsurprisingly, the two-time 2019 tournament winners will bring back power forward Jin as well, a crucial component to the team’s recent success.
Wizards District Gaming
Protected (announced Aug. 20): Dayfri and ReeseDaGod23
Retained (announced Oct. 22): Demon JT (at cost of fourth-round draft pick)
The Wizards became the first of the 21 season two teams to announce their protections on Tuesday (the window to officially protect players opened on Monday), making sure star big man Dayfri and team vet ReeseDaGod23 cannot be selected in the upcoming expansion draft.
“It means so much being a retained player two seasons in a row,” Dayfri told DIMER. “Now it’s time to win a championship and take care of business.”
Said ReeseDaGod23, “My hard work paid off. I want to say thank you to my father and God up above. I know my dad is looking down smiling.”
The team retained then traded Demon JT as part of a deal with Pistons GT.