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Picks Owned, Picks Owed: A rundown of Orlando’s “War Chest”

Aaron breaks down the draft picks the Magic own in the next few upcoming drafts

NBA: Orlando Magic-Press Conference Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s now been over two weeks since the Orlando Magic selected a trio of rookies in June’s NBA Draft, headlined by the sixth overall pick - Mohamed Bamba. Bamba, Jonathan Isaac (Orlando's sixth overall selection last year), and recently re-signed forward Aaron Gordon now represent a clear foundation in which this franchise can be built around.

Orlando President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman, alongside General Manager John Hammond, also selected two prospects in the second round of the draft this year - Melvin Frazier Jr. (35th overall) and Justin Jackson (43rd overall, acquired in a trade/swap with the Denver Nuggets, along with a 2019 second round pick).

This past weekend, the Magic were involved in an organization-altering move that was presumed to be made in an attempt to balance/re-distribute some players on the roster. Orlando sent Bismack Biyombo, along with two future second round picks, to the Charlotte Hornets. In return, the Charlotte Hornets sent big man Timofey Mozgov to Orlando. The Hornets sent Julyan Stone to the Chicago Bulls in the deal, and the Bulls sent point guard Jerian Grant to the Magic.

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”. The two transactions the Magic have been involved with since late June (Vanderbilt/Jackson trade, Biyombo/Mozgov/Grant/Stone trade) have affected the ownership of some of Orlando’s future picks. To clear up some of the confusion of which picks are coming, going, protected, etc., let’s dive in and take a look at what exactly is in Orlando’s possession through 2021.

2019 (Three 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, most favorable of their own, Cleveland’s second round pick, and Houston’s second round pick (Kyle O’Quinn sign-and-trade deal in ‘15, right to swap)
  • Orlando owes the Detroit Pistons the least favorable of their second-round picks (Jodie Meeks trade in ‘16)
  • Orlando traded away the ‘19 second round pick they acquired from Denver (Vanderbilt/Jackson trade, lesser of Denver/Washington second round picks) to the Charlotte Hornets (Biyombo/Mozgov/Grant/Stone deal)

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. The Magic own the Nets’ second round pick no matter where it should fall. Orlando can pick swap if either the Cleveland or Houston picks in the second-round are more favorable than its own (if not, they just keep their own). They also have the Blazers pick coming their way. But, out of these two selections, Orlando must turn over the least favorable of their own or Portland’s to Detroit as compensation for acquiring Meeks in the summer of ‘16.

The Magic were slated to have three picks in the second round of next year’s draft, but traded the pick they recently acquired on draft night (6/21/18 - Vanderbilt/Jackson) to Charlotte in the Biyombo deal. Since both Washington and Denver are fringe playoff teams, I don’t foresee losing that pick to end up hurting the Magic very much (will probably fall in the 42-46 range).

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

  • Orlando owns its own first-round pick
  • Orlando owns the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick (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, Anzejs Pasecniks trade in ‘17)
  • Orlando owns its own second-round pick
  • Orlando traded away the pick they acquired from Philadelphia on draft night in ‘17 (less favorable of New York and Brooklyn’s picks, Pasecniks trade) to the Charlotte Hornets (Biyombo/Mozgov/Grant/Stone deal)

In 2020, it’s guaranteed (for now) that the Magic will have two picks: their own first and second-round picks.

And then there’s the first-round pick Orlando acquired on draft night in ‘17 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 needed to happen before Orlando could even think about obtaining this pick from the Thunder was that Oklahoma City had to convey a first-round pick to Utah. The pick was lottery protected, meaning anytime that Oklahoma City made the playoffs (and thus picked outside the lottery), the pick would be conveyed to Utah. Luckily for the Magic, this of course happened (and the pick was conveyed to Minnesota via Utah - Rubio trade). This pushed the timeline for Orlando possibly earning the pick to 2020, the earliest it could have been conveyed to the Magic.

Now, before you get too excited, remember that the pick the Magic are owed is still top-20 protected. Orlando will only receive the pick if it falls outside of 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).

I guess the good news for Magic fans is that the Thunder as an organization have had a pretty successful summer so far. Paul George, an All-Star forward Oklahoma City acquired a year ago in a trade with the Indiana Pacers, opted this summer to remain with the franchise long-term. George agreed to a four-year, $137 million dollar max contract as soon as free agency began on July 1st. The Thunder have George, Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, and Jerami Grant all signed thru 2021. Presumably, this core should be solid enough to keep the Thunder in playoff contention for the next couple seasons.

The Magic were also in possession of an additional second round pick in ‘20, that is until the Biyombo trade last weekend. Along with the OKC ‘20 1st round pick (Top-20 protected), the Magic also acquired an additional second round pick from Philadelphia in the deal for Pasecniks (25th pick by Orlando in ‘17). The Magic were in position to acquire the less favorable of second round picks between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. But this pick was traded away to Charlotte. It remains to be seen where this pick will ultimately fall; its impossible to predict two seasons out the direction that other franchises are heading.

Still, it seems like that particular pick (less favorable second round pick - NYK/BRK ‘20) would’ve had a decent enough chance to be in the 30-40 range, which isn’t a terrible asset to have.

2021 (Two picks)

  • Orlando owns its own first-round pick
  • Orlando owns its own second-round pick

Nothing to see here, other than I’ll be closing in on forty by 2021, if I’m lucky. Three years down the road, the Magic hold both their future picks in the ‘21 draft.

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.

What do you think Magic fans? Was acquiring one year of Jerian Grant worth two second round picks? Leave your thoughts/comments below.