Orlando Magic have punted 2nd round picks, some with good reason

Orlando Magic, Caleb Houstan. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Magic, Caleb Houstan. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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You could visibly feel the collective eyes rolling as the news came down Sunday morning.

The Orlando Magic were shuttling off more second-round picks for an undefined asset. The Magic spinning second-round picks to the future has become as much of a draft night trope as taking the player with the longest wingspan.

The latest move at least was a little bit more creative.

Sunday, the Orlando Magic reportedly traded three future second-round picks — all coming from currently contending teams and likely to fall in the final 10 picks of the draft — for the right to swap first-round picks with the Phoenix Suns in the 2026 NBA Draft.

Even with all the likely protections — the three second-round picks the Orlando Magic gave up were a 2024 Denver Nuggets second-round pick; the least favorable of 2026 second-round picks from the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks; and a top-45 protected 2028 Boston Celtics second-round pick — the Magic are very likely to have given up three second-round picks for nothing in the end.

The Orlando Magic have had a habit of spinning forward and punting on their second-round selections under Jeff Weltman. Often it is for good reason but opportunities have been missed.

Sure, the Magic could end up better than the Suns in two seasons — a lot can happen in two seasons. Just as it is likely the Suns bottom out or have a catastrophic failure with their current championship roster. From Phoenix’s perspective, this deal is a bet on themselves while they restock their cupboard with second-round picks to use.

For the Magic, this is a low-risk gamble to move up in the first round in 2026 with assets the team is not likely going to use.

That perception the Magic trade all of their second-round picks is completely true. Orlando has not used many of its second-round picks. It is a small thing but it is a missed opportunity to add talent to the roster.

And miffed fans are right to be frustrated that a rebuilding team let those opportunities go. Even without considering who else the Magic might have drafted, the Magic have traded away some decent players.

This is essentially a low-risk pitch the Magic have repeatedly taken or punted to future years.

In seven years with the Magic, Jeff Weltman and his staff have taken only four of the 14 second-round picks they have had available to them. Only three of those players — Wesley Iwundu, Melvin Frazier and Caleb Houstan — actually saw time with the main roster.

That should highlight two things: First, how easily the Magic spun out second-round picks often for future picks, punting their choices down the road. And second, how rare it is for players to make it from the second round.

At the end of the day, this complaint may be small potatoes and the Magic’s calculus in trading three low-value picks (they are still stocked with nine future second-round picks, Weltman is not crying poor) might make it worth for the chance at this pick swap.

Let’s take a look at each draft in turn then: