All Romero Osby jerseys being sold in the Magic Team Shop aside, there is no guarantee that the Magic's second round pick will get a contract with the Magic. That is the problem with being a second round pick. There is no guarantee of anything.
That does not mean the Magic do not like Romero Osby.
It is safe to say that in Summer League this year, where Osby put up 11.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, Osby impressed enough with his hard work and motor to earn a serious look from the Magic. Of course, the problem is the Magic already have plenty of power forwards and playing time would be an issue for Osby.
This is perhaps why several news outlets have floated the idea out there that the Magic would encourage Osby to go play in Europe for a year and then bring him over next season when more playing time might be available to him. Simply put, Osby will have a difficult time finding playing time behind Glen Davis, Tobias Harris, Jason Maxiell and Andrew Nicholson.
There is not room for Osby right now.
If the Magic were to sign him and send him to the D-League, Osby would still take up a roster spot and be paying him likely the rookie minimum of $490,180 (if not a bit more or closer to $800,000). It might be a multi-year deal, or it might not.
In any case, having Osby languishing on the bench without playing would almost seem like a waste of a year. It is still not clear how Rob Hennigan intends to use the D-League, but without a one-on-one or nearby affiliate, it would be tough to do that. The only option that would be best for the Magic and for Osby seems to be trying to get Osby playing time overseas and bring him over the following year.
This is an important consideration for the Magic and must be made before training camp opens October 1.
If Osby is on the training camp roster, then the Magic will have used his rights and if they cut him before the season begins, Osby would be free to sign with any other NBA team. However, if Osby is not on the training camp roster and signs with a European team before then, the Magic will retain his rights when he does play in the NBA. This would appear to be the ideal decision for the Magic.
The Magic as an organization have very little experience with stashing second round picks in Europe. The most successful examples were Marcin Gortat (drafted in 2005, NBA debut with Orlando in 2007) and Mario Kasun (drafted in 2002, NBA debut with Orlando in 2004).
Both of those players though were European players. This is an American player who might be stashed overseas.
This has become a trend among NBA teams recently to send American-raised players overseas to retain their rights. Obviously if a player is not good enough to make camp immediately — or drafted in the second round for that matter — the odds are long for success. For every Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili or even Marcin Gortat, there are no-name players who went overseas and never returned for various reasons.
This strategy is not a slam dunk for developing NBA-ready or NBA-caliber players.
This is what Scott Schroeder of SBNation decided to look into earlier this week and found that the strategy really only has rare successes:
Twenty-seven of the aforementioned 195 players elected to sign their first professional contracts outside of the NBA, because either they or the team that drafted them decided they wouldn't have a shot of making the NBA right away. Those 27 — ranging from guys like Matt Bonner, Ronny Turiaf and Darius Songaila to Deron Washington, Jon Diebler and the notorious Chukwudiebere Maduabum — are essentially the case study for Muscala, Jackson, Iverson, Green, Ennis, Thomas and Oriakhi, as they were all essentially drafted and stashed.
Thirteen of those 27 players are still plying their trades in Europe, with their rights still held by the NBA team that drafted them, while five others were released by their NBA teams after failing to earn a roster spot upon their return to the states. There are therefore just nine of 195 players in the past 10 years that have succeeded with what this year's draft-and-stash second rounders hope to accomplish. Even then, their results haven't ended with a ton of success.
Those nine players include Darius Songaila, Matt Bonner, Ronny Turiaf, Nick Calathes, Robert Vaden and Kyle Singler among others. It is not a star-studded list and few players that go this route have stayed in the NBA very long. However some of these players have stories that are yet to be written.
The final piece to this puzzle is what Osby wants to do. If Osby wants to play in Europe and can find a team willing to give him a one-year deal or a multi-year deal with an NBA out clause, he could certainly use the experience playing for a full season to grow and develop before joining the Magic. This would give Orlando time to clear out its power forward logjam and provide a place for Osby to play.
These are big decisions for the Magic and Osby early in his career to find the best way for him to have a successful career (with the Magic or not).
The Magic still have a month and a half to make a final decision on whether to add Osby to their preseason roster. And Osby has that long to make his own call.