cameroncrazies02
I think I did this last year or maybe two years ago and enlight of my favorite podcast, Locked On Bucks doing a similar thing, here's my list of expansion draft team protections.  The rules are you can only protect up to 8 players (last done in 2004) and can only protect players who are under contract or RFA.  This is tougher, because this would be done before the off-season starts when the number of players available to you is less so protection is easier.  By virtue of roster expansion, I'm going to narrow that down to 7 as I think the NBA would do the same considering you can now carry 15 on your roster, plus two 2-way deals.  I'm not sure expansion is inevitable in the NBA considering some floundering markets, but its been 14 years since the last expansion draft and for the sake of my forum posting, it would be a dream come true.

Atlanta Hawks-
Protected-Trae Young, John Collins, Taurean Prince, Kevin Huerter, Dewayne Dedmon, Omari Spellman, Alex Len
Unprotected-Kent Bazemore, Jeremy Lin, Justin Anderson, De'Andre Bembry, Tyler Dorsey, Daniel Hamilton, Miles Plumlee

Boston Celtics-
Protected-Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier
Unprotected-Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes, Robert Williams, Daniel Theis, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, Jabari Bird, Brad Wanamaker

Brooklyn Nets-
Protected-D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LaVert, Dzanan Musa, Rodions Kurucs
Unprotected-Allen Crabbe, Kenneth Faried, Joe Harris, Jared Dudley, Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier, Treveon Graham

Chicago Bulls-
Protected-Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Jabari Parker, Kris Dunn, Wendell Carter Jr, Bobby Portis, Chandler Hutchison
Unprotected-Robin Lopez, Denzel Valentine, Cam Payne, Justin Holiday, Omer Asik, Cristiano Felicio, Antonio Blakeney

Charlotte Hornets-
Protected-Kemba Walker, Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, Frank Kaminsky, Jeremy Lamb, Devonte Graham, Tony Parker
Unprotected-Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Willy Hernangomez, Marvin Williams, Dwayne Bacon, Bismack Biyombo

Cleveland Cavaliers-
Protected-Kevin Love, Collin Sexton, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance, Ante Ziziv
Unprotected-Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Korver, George Hill, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Sam Dekker, Channing Frye

Dallas Mavericks-
Protected-Luka Doncic, Dennis Smith Jr, De'Andre Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Jalen Brunson, JJ Barea
Unprotected-Wes Matthews, Dwight Powell, Devin Harris, Salah Mejri, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Ryan Broekhoff, Ray Spalding

Denver Nuggets-
Protected-Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr, Will Barton, Trey Lyles, Paul Millsap
Unprotected-Juan Hernangomez, Isaiah Thomas, Mason Plumlee, Tyler Lydon, Malik Beasley, Monte Morris, Jarred Vanderbilt, Torrey Craig

Detroit Pistons-
Protected-Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, Luke Kennard, Reggie Jackson, Khyri Thomas, Glenn Robinson, Bruce Brown
Unprotected-Ish Smith, Stanley Johnson, Jon Leuer, Langston Galloway, Reggie Bullock, Jose Calderon, Zaza Pachulia, Henry Ellenson

Golden State Warriors-
Protected-Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Demarcus Cousins, Jordan Bell, Jacob Evans
Unprotected-Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, Kevon Looney, Damian James, Jonas Jerebko

Houston Rockets-
Protected-James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Carmelo Anthony, Eric Gordon, Marquese Chriss, Gerald Green
Unprotected-Brandon Knight, James Ennis, PJ Tucker, Michael Carter Williams, Nene, Zhou Qi, Isaiah Hartenstein

Indiana Pacers-
Protected-Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Tyreke Evans, Damantas Sabonis, Aaron Holiday, Darren Collison
Unprotected-Thaddeus Young, TJ Leaf, Cory Joseph, Doug McDermott, Kyle O'Quinn, Ike Anigbogu, Alize Johnson

LA Clippers-
Protected-Lou Williams, Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Tobias Harris, Jerome Robinson, Avery Bradley, Montrezl Harrell, Marcin Gortat
Unprotected-Danilo Gallinari, Jawun Evans, Sindarious Thornwell, Wes Johnson, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjonovic, Pat Beverley, Mike Scott, Luc Mbah A Moute

LA Lakers-
Protected-Lebron James, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Moritz Wagner, Michael Beasley
Unprotected-Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac, Svi Mykhailiuk, Isaac Bonga, Joel Berry

Memphis Grizzlies-
Protected-Jaren Jackson Jr, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Kyle Anderson, Andrew Harrison, Ivan Rabb, Dillon Brooks
Unprotected-Jevon Carter, Chandler Parsons, Garrett Temple, JaMychal Green, Omri Casspi, Shelvin Mack, Marshon Brooks, Wayne Selden, Dakari Johnson

Miami Heat-
Protected-Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow
Unprotected-Tyler Johnson, Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder, Derrick Jones

Milwaukee Bucks-
Protected-Giannis Anteotokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, Thon Maker, Donte Divincenzo
Unprotected-Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson, Sterling Brown, DJ Wilson, Tyler Zeller, Matthew Dellavadova, Tony Snell, Pat Connaughton

Minnesota Timberwolves-
Protected-Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Justin Patton, Josh Okogie, Keita Bates Diop
Unprotected-Taj Gibson, Gorgui Dieng, Anthony Tolliver, Tyus Jones, Derrick Rose, James Nunnally

New Orleans Pelicans-
Protected-Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Mirotic, Jahlil Okafor, Jahlil Okafor
Unprotected-Frank Mason, Solomon Hill, Ian Clark, Etwuan Moore, Alexis Ajinca, Emeka Okafor, Darius Miller, Cheick Diallo, Troy Williams

New York Knicks-
Protected-Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Knox, Enes Kanter, Frank Ntilikina, Mario Hezonja, Mitchell Robinson, Emmanuel Mudiay
Unprotected-Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee, Trey Burke, Noah Vonleh, Damyean Dotson, Ron Baker, Lance Thomas, Luke Kornet, Joakim Noah

Oklahoma City Thunder-
Protected-Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Nerlens Noel, Dennis Schroeder, Jerami Grant
Unprotected-Alex Abrines, Terrance Ferguson, Pat Patterson, Raymond Felton, Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot, Abdel Nader, Hamidou Diallo

Orlando Magic-
Protected-Mo Bamba, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, Isaiah Briscoe, Melvin Frazier
Unprotected-Timofey Mozgov, Terrance Ross, DJ Augustin, Jonathan Simmons, Jerian Grant, Jarell Martin, Khem Birch, Wes Iwundu

Philadelphia 76ers-
Protected-Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, JJ Redick, Robert Covington, Zhaire Smith
Unprotected-TJ McConnell, Furkan Korkmaz, Wilson Chandler, Amir Johnson, Mike Muscala, Jerryd Bayless, Landry Shamet, Jonah Bolden

Phoenix Suns-
Protected-Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton, Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, TJ Warren, Elie Okobo, Trevor Ariza
Unprotected-Ryan Anderson, Tyson Chandler, Dragan Bender, Troy Daniels, Richaun Holmes, Darrell Arthur, Isaiah Canaan, Davon Reed, Shaq Harrison

Portland Trailblazers-
Protected-Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Anfernee Simmons, Wade Baldwin, Gary Trent Jr
Unprotected-Meyers Leonard, Evan Turner, Al Farouq Aminu, Mo Harkless, Seth Curry, Caleb Swanigan, Nik Stauskas, Jake Layman

Sacramento Kings-
Protected-Marvin Bagley, Buddy Hield, De'Aaron Fox, Bojan Bogdanovic, Willie Cauley Stein, Harry Giles, Justin Jackson
Unprotected-Yogi Ferrell, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufus, Skal Labissiere, Iman Shumpert, Nemanja Bjelica, Ben McElmore, Deyonta Davis, Frank Mason

San Antonio Spurs-
Protected-Demar DeRozan, Lamarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Jakob Poeltl, Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, Pau Gasol
Unprotected-Bryn Forbes, DJ White, Patty Mills, Davis Bertans, Dante Cunningham

Toronto Raptors-
Protected-Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Fred Van Vleet
Unprotected-Delon Wright, CJ Miles, Danny Green, Norman Powell, Greg Monroe, Lorenzo Brown, Malachi Richardson, Kay Felder

Utah Jazz-
Protected-Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Dante Exum, Grayson Allen, Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors
Unprotected-Royce O'Neal, Alec Burks, Jae Crowder, Thabo Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh, Raul Neto, Tony Bradley, Georges Niang

Washington Wizards-
Protected-John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Troy Brown, Dwight Howard, Austin Rivers
Unprotected-Markieff Morris, Tomas Satoransky, Jeff Green, Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith, Jodie Meeks, Thomas Bryant

The team I came up with-

Kent Bazemore/Jeremy Lin, Marcus Morris/Robert Williams, Joe Harris/Kenneth Faried/Ed Davis, Robin Lopez/Denzel Valentine, Willie Hernangomez/MKG, Jordan Clarkson/Kyle Korver/Tristan Thompson, Wes Matthews/Dwight Powell, Juan Hernangomez/Isaiah Thomas, Ish Smith/Stanley Johnson, Iguodala/Livingston/Cook/Looney, Knight/Tucker, Thad Young/Collison/Anigbogu/O'Quinn, Beverley/Scott/Mbah, Rondo/KCP/McGee, Jevon Carter, Tyler Johnson/Waiters, Ersan/Henson/Sterling, Gibson/Dieng/Tyus Jones, Hardaway Jr, Terrance Ferguson, Jonathan Simmons, McConnell/Korkmaz/Bolden/Shamet, Bender, Randolph/Skal, Bertans/DJ White, Delon Wright, O'Neal/Burks/Crowder, Morris/Satoransky

PG-TJ McConnell, Darren Collison, Isaiah Thomas
SG-Kent Bazemore, Tim Hardaway Jr, Joe Harris
SF-Andre Iguodala, Kyle Korver, Terrance Ferguson, 
PF-Thad Young, Markieff Morris, Dragan Bender, Juan Hernangomez
C-Robin Lopez, Robert Williams

I like this team for a few reasons.  One, it has a very fair cap moving forward.  There isn't anyone, aside from I think Hardaway Jr, who is beyond a 2 year contract.  There's a ton of flexibility at positions 2-4 with varying degrees of defense, 3P shooting, veteran leadership and young players.  And there are a few young building blocks in Ferguson, Bender, Hernangomez, and Williams.

Of course, this isn't how an expansion would work.  It occurs at the beginning of the off-season when the player pool is far fewer, but the expansion team then has the ability to make moves in free agency.  If that was the case, I'd go for significantly smaller contracts to offer at least one big one.
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