Pros and cons of the Orlando Magic trading their first-round pick

Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven / Jason Miller/GettyImages

For the first time in years, the Orlando Magic are not a lottery team and do not have the pressure to make a great pick in the draft. They already have their main guy in Paolo Banchero, and now is the time to build around him. 

The Magic have been linked to some big names, and we should all expect them to make at least one significant move over the summer. While there is no rush to build a team that can go to the Finals next season, they have a unique chance to use their cap space and trade assets to optimize the roster now. 

They should not let that slip away. Otherwise, they might follow a similar path as the Sacramento Kings, for example. Wanting to see what their core could grow into after making it to the playoffs, the Kings did not make any significant moves and now might have missed their window to build a contender in the West. 

The Magic could even consider trading their number 18 pick in this year’s draft. So, let’s look at the pros and cons of making that move. 

Pros of trading the pick

This is not an incredibly strong draft. Obviously, there are always players in every draft class that end up surprising everyone, but, for the Magic, a more veteran player who can have an immediate impact would be more useful than a prospect who might only crack the rotation in a few years. 

Last season the Magic had no pressure to win anything and yet rookies Anthony Black and Jett Howard had trouble seeing the court consistently. Now, the Magic want to win and are expected to be one of the better teams in the East. That allows little to no room for a rookie to actually play, especially with Black and Howard still in the mix. Both spent their rookie season developing and will be first in line to get a shot at rotational minutes. 

So, using the pick and bringing in a young prospect might mean just filling a roster spot with someone who will spend most of their time in the G League. Plus, on the trade market, the Magic would be able to get someone specifically for a skill set they have already proven in the NBA. A rookie might have been a great three-point shooter in college but then struggles to bring that same skill to the NBA at first. 

Cons of trading the pick

With extensions for Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, and Paolo Banchero coming up, the Magic will have to deal with the salary cap soon. This is pretty much inevitable if you want to be a contender, and having a contributor on a cheap rookie contract is always nice in those situations. So, if the Magic were to get someone who can contribute to the team’s success in the near future at number 18, it would be great financially. 

Furthermore, this team’s identity stems from their ability to draft and develop players. Even if whoever they select in this year’s draft were to spend most of their time in the G League, it would present another chance for the team to develop and grow a young prospect in their own system. 

Unfortunately, not too many teams that could be suitable trade partners for the Magic will be interested in the 18th overall pick in a draft that doesn’t promise too much potential. So, the return might not be what you would like to see for a first-round pick. 

At this moment, there is simply no right answer to the question of whether or not the Magic should trade the pick because we do not know who they might be able to get yet. If the right trade presents itself, the chance of getting a veteran contributor would definitely outweigh the potential of a valuable rookie contract, however.