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Evaluating the Orlando Magic’s growing war chest of assets

The Magic made a couple trades on Draft night. Let’s take a look at their future assets.

Miami Heat v Orlando Magic Photo by Manuela Davies/Getty Images

For Orlando Magic fans, last Thursday night was a rollercoaster of emotions. Most importantly, the Magic reinvested in their future by selecting the best player available, not to mention a young man, in Jonathan Isaac, Orlando management had been targeting for some time. Cory Hutson wrote a piece last week exploring Jonathan Isaac’s fit in Orlando. He is clearly the cornerstone Orlando’s management wants to build around heading into the future.

Where the draft seemed to begin to spiral was when news broke that Orlando had decided to trade its 35th pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for a future pick. Second-round picks are bought and sold pretty regularly, so that wasn’t a shock. However, It was pretty surprising that Orlando decided to announce that trade so early, rather than waiting to see which players on their board fell to the 35th selection.

And then surprisingly, moments after the Orlando-Memphis trade was announced, Orlando was rumored to be shopping their 25th pick as well. Orlando selected Anzjes Pasecniks, a 7-foot-2 big man out of Latvia, and it smelled of a draft-and-stash situation. This notion was proven to be incorrect; Orlando selected Pasecniks and then traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers for a heavily protected future first round pick.

I dove deeper into each selection and graded Orlando’s overall draft night here.

Essentially, new Magic management decided to bring in two prospects next season rather than draft four players, and thus passing on stashing anyone overseas for a year or two. Jeff Weltman and John Hammond explained this decision by stating that “they felt the talent flattened out by the time the 25th pick occurred.” Weltman and Hammond instead elected to reallocate those picks and create future assets in the process.

I thought this would be a perfect time to take a closer look at the War Chest that Weltman and Hammond will have at their disposal as the organization moves ahead during this “Rebuild 2.0” (or is it 3.0?). Looking down the road, many of these picks have complications and protections; Weltman and Hammond obviously significantly added to Orlando’s War Chest with the two trades that commenced Thursday night.

2018 (two total picks)

  • Orlando owns its own first-round pick
  • Orlando owns one second-round pick (the more favorable of its own or the Los Angeles Lakers’, from Dwight Howard trade)
  • Orlando owes the Toronto Raptors a second-round pick (the less favorable of their own or the Lakers’ pick, from acquiring Jeff Weltman’s services)

Analysis: Pretty standard here. Orlando owns one first-rounder and one second-rounder next year. The Magic were scheduled to have two selections (their own and one from the Lakers), but instead will give the less favorable of the two second round picks to Toronto. Orlando had to pay this compensation to Toronto for acquiring Jeff Weltman’s services as President of Basketball Operations.

2019 (three total picks)

  • Orlando owns its own first-round pick
  • Orlando owns the Portland Trail Blazers’ second-round pick (from the Jake Layman trade in ‘16)
  • Orlando owns the Brooklyn Nets’ second-round pick (via Memphis, Ivan Rabb trade in ‘17)
  • Orlando owns its own second-round pick and has the right to swap with the New York Knicks if their second-round pick is more favorable (Kyle O’Quinn sign-and-trade deal in ‘15)
  • Orlando owes the Detroit Pistons the least favorable of their second-round picks (Jodie Meeks trade in ‘16)

    Analysis: This is where things begin to get a bit complicated. The Magic own their own first-round pick in 2019, which is straightforward. However, the second round is a little confusing. Orlando can pick swap if New York’s second-round pick is more favorable than its own, and they also have the Brooklyn Nets and Blazers’ picks coming their way. But, out of these three selections, Orlando must turn over the least favorable of the three to Detroit as compensation for acquiring Meeks last summer.

2020 (three picks, with a small possibility of four picks)

  • Orlando owns its own first-round pick
  • Orlando owns the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick (Orlando can only receive this pick exactly two years after OKC awards the Utah Jazz their pick from a prior obligation. The pick is top-20 protected in 2020, 2021, and 2022. If the pick is not awarded by 2022, the first-round pick becomes two second-round picks; one in 2022 and another in 2023; via Philadelphia, Pasecniks trade in ‘17)
  • Orlando owns its own second-round pick
  • Orlando owns a second-round pick from Philadelphia (less favorable of New York and Brooklyn’s pick, Pasecniks trade in ‘17)

Analysis: In 2020, it’s guaranteed (for now) that the Magic will have three picks: their own first- and second-round picks, as well as a second from Philadelphia. And then there’s the first-round pick Orlando acquired Thursday night from Oklahoma City (via Philadelphia). It’s kind of a white whale, meaning it may be extremely difficult to obtain. The U.S. Secret Service is jealous of how protected this pick is. You get my point.

The first thing that must happen before Orlando can even think about obtaining this pick from the Thunder is that Oklahoma City must convey a first-round pick to Utah. This pick is lottery protected, meaning anytime that Oklahoma City makes the playoffs (and thus picks outside the lottery), the pick will be conveyed to Utah. The best case scenario for Orlando is that the Thunder make the playoffs next year (2018). That would push the timeline for Orlando possibly earning this pick to 2020, the earliest it could be conveyed to the Magic.

After that, the pick from the Thunder the Magic are owed is still top-20 protected. Orlando will only receive the pick if it falls outside the top 20 at some point before 2022. As we know, if that doesn’t happen to occur, this pick converts to two second round selections (in ‘22 and ‘23).

So that’s it, those assets are what the Magic have in their chest. I must credit both Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders as well as Real GM for this information.

It’s pretty wild that some of these picks may not be conveyed for four to five years. Will we have flying cars by then? A new president? Construction on I-4 finished (yeah right)? Just think, Magic fans, the next time you find yourself in a high school gym watching a JV basketball game, you may be watching a future Magic franchise cornerstone.