Orlando Magic 2022 NBA Draft Preview: A brief history of trading the first pick

1 of 7
Anfernee Hardaway, Orlando Magic, Jamal Mashburn, Miami Heat
Anfernee Hardaway created his own Orlando Magic legacy after Shaquille O’Neal left. (Photo by TONY RANZE/AFP via Getty Images) /

There is a lot of boredom in the month between the NBA Draft Lottery and the NBA Draft proper.

Narratives get set and seem difficult to reset in the month leading into the draft. Even with a draft as volatile and uncertain as this one.

It is exceedingly rare that the top pick entering the draft is set in stone weeks, if not months, in advance. It is even rarer that there are three players vying for the top pick. And while the oddsmakers may have Paolo Banchero falling off the pace behind a narrowing gap between Jabari Smith, Jr., and Chet Holmgren at the very top.

There are good reasons to draft all three of these prospects. The debate rages on.

But the other side of that debate, and the part that fills gaps in the repeated narrative of who they will pick, is whether there is an option to trade the pick.

Yes, it is that time in the draft process. It happens every year without fail. Someone starts suggesting or thinking, “Hey maybe they should trade the top pick.”

The Orlando Magic are sitting with the first pick and we have entered the phase of pre-draft conversation where people suggest the Magic trade the pick. There is actually a clear roadmap to do that.

Indeed, there are some teeth to this now. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer went deeper into this on the latest episode of The Void. And there are plenty of others wondering if there is some godfather off out there.

It is hard for any long conversation not to lead to this possibility. Again, there is a long information vacuum to fill between the Lottery and the NBA Draft.

And while Jeff Weltman has not talked to reporters since Lottery night, when he does address the media before the NBA Draft he will surely say, “We are exploring a number of options.” It would be wrong not to listen to any offers on the table.

This is a unique position for Orlando with so much uncertainty at the top of the draft. And there are conditions there for a trade to happen — even in a draft considered less than generational. The question is always: What do the Magic want out of a trade and how much will they demand to get a deal done.

The price for the No. 1 pick in the past has indeed been steep. And so since we have reached this point of the the draft news cycle, it is worth taking a look at the history of trading the number one pick, as rare as it is.

Doing so gives us an idea of the conditions it takes to move such a valuable piece of real estate and how it might apply to this unique situation the Magic find themselves in.