3 routes the Orlando Magic can explore and walk ahead of the NBA Draft

Jeff Weltman's role to this point has been to build the Orlando Magic's infrastructure and culture. Now he needs to work on the roster. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Weltman's role to this point has been to build the Orlando Magic's infrastructure and culture. Now he needs to work on the roster. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

At the trade deadline, the Orlando Magic decided to reset their roster and take the route of going young.

It caused the Magic to once again put faith in the Lottery.

Just like recent history, Orlando fell back in the Lottery. But this time around, the Magic have assets that create the possibilities for management to create their destiny.

The Orlando Magic again lost their bet on the NBA Draft Lottery. But they now have the assets and ability to go in several different paths in the month leading up to the NBA Draft.

Orlando faces different choices coming up, whether it be trading up, staying put or even trading out of the draft. The Magic face franchise-altering decisions coming up to the draft, it is going to be up to Jeff Weltman to decide where the future leads.

Trading Up

Trading up in this year’s draft has been the most wanted outcome among Orlando Magic fans. Obviously this is born from the disappointment of missing on the top of the draft.

But it makes the most sense for Orlando to do so and with two top-10 picks and ample cap room to rent.

This year’s draft is considered to be a four- to five-player draft at the top. But the top three players are at another level. Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley are considered to be above everyone else in the draft and have been the consensus top three picks.

The Magic falling out of the top three was devastating as it seems that the horrible year was a waste. But the Orlando Magic are fortunate the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors were the teams who jumped them instead of another rebuilding team such as the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder would have been unlikely to trade the pick, there is a greater chance that the Cavaliers or Raptors are more willing to make a trade.

The reason that trade is more likely is that the question of whether or not a team should take the best talent available or a need is taken into question. The Cavaliers face this question even more because of the young backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland.

There have been reports that the Cavaliers may look to move Sexton, it is hard to believe he would be traded, as he came off of a strong season averaging 24.3 points per game on 47.5-percent from the field and 37.1-percent from three at the age of 22.

With that being said, there have also been reports Cleveland has been strongly considering drafting Jonathan Kuminga.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

With the likely scenario of Cunningham and Mobley going one and two in the draft, there is a deal to be made between the Cavs and the Magic. Orlando could get their hands on a wing who has the potential to be an elite scorer, which would be the first since Tracy McGrady. And Cleveland would be able to draft Kuminga, who fits nicely next to their backcourt, with Jalen Suggs likely going to Toronto with the fourth pick.

The point is that there are frameworks for a deal and the ability to make something happen. It depends on the Magic’s motivation and willingness to trade up to get a deal done.

Staying Pat

While trading up is the most intriguing option for the Orlando Magic, it is important to remember that it takes two teams to get a deal done. There is no guarantee that either team in the top three wants to move down as this is an opportunity for potential franchise-changing talent.

If this is the route Orlando finds itself taking, it will give the team two chances to find its guy.

The Magic would likely take Jonathan Kuminga with the fifth pick in the draft if the draft goes as expected. That is not the worst outcome in the world as Jonathan Kuminga is a better fit and has a higher ceiling than Jalen Suggs to begin with.

Kuminga, just like Green, played with the G-League Ignite team, which allows him to play with NBA-level players. For the most part, he played well, averaging 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. While he did not shoot the ball well from beyond the arc at a 24.6-percent rate, he did shoot 65-percent from three at the combine so far.

Orlando would be taking a chance at the final potential franchise-changing player. But at eight, the Magic will have another chance to draft another high-talent prospect.

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The number eight spot provides another chance for Orlando to get this draft right. With players such as Scottie Barnes, James Bouknight, Moses Moody and others, the Magic have a pool of players who have different skillsets they can add to their young roster.

The Magic will have the chance to add shooting to a team that desperately needs it, and with having two selections, Orlando has the opportunity to take a chance to swing for a star and take a player that will provide them with a need.

Trade Out

It is hard to see a scenario where the Magic trade down or out of this draft. Unless the team does a double-take and goes after a star or wannabe star veteran to boost the team’s short-term prospects, the draft is still the best way for this team to grow and develop. With two picks, the Magic have the advantage to establish a stronger base.

The unspoken rule about the draft is that a team should do what they can to draft their guy. But there is a version of the draft that will not go Orlando’s way where the team may look to move out of the draft.

With all the talent in this draft, even if it is not a star talent, that feels exceeding unlikely to happen. Even if the Magic go off-board at No. 5 to get “their guy,” that option and that player is still on the table and at their control.

The reason this option is plausible is the fact the Magic have future assets to trade combined with how many young players are already on the roster. There is an argument to be made it does not make sense to add two more rookies to a roster that still has five players on their rookie contract combined with Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac.

This was the fourth-youngest team in the league at the end of the season.

The Orlando Magic having the fifth and eighth picks combined with the future Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets picks may give Orlando the ammunition it needs to get a deal done that makes sense for their roster.

Jeff Weltman already hinted that this roster needs veterans, which makes sense in the sense that young players need veterans to lead with experience and guidance to build the right culture.

Then again, one of the reasons the team parted ways with Steve Clifford seemed to be Clifford’s push to win more in the short-term and add veteran players. If that was the plan, why did the Magic trade away all their veteran stars at the trade deadline? Especially with a likely top pick already seemingly in their pocket.

Nonetheless, the option is still on the table and still should get some consideration.

The Magic may look to move a combination of those picks to trade for a player who has already played in the league and has proven he will improve the roster sooner rather than later. When Orlando broke the team apart at the deadline, it was to gather assets and mold the team using those assets during the offseason and beyond.

The right decision may prove to be trading for a veteran or even a young star who may find himself unhappy with his current situation. There is no telling what may happen from now until the draft, so Orlando must keep their options open.

Regardless of the route Orlando takes, it is clear Orland puts itself in the position to have these different options available.

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The Magic find themselves in a unique situation as the draft may not be the answer. But it may also prove to be the draft that turns the franchise around. In the end, Weltman did a great job setting up this scenario, it is also going to up to him to execute this important offseason.