The Orlando Magic had the good fortune to land the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and now the team still reeling from Dwight Howard’s departure is looking to move down the draft.
According to Orlando Sentinel beat writer Brian K. Schmitz, several teams are interested in trading with the Magic for their selection.
Schmitz tweeted early Saturday: “Source tells me Magic considering moving down in draft and have ‘quite a few’ suitors interested in trading for No. 2 pick.”
The club needs help at practically every position, but it was reported the Magic were more interested in sprucing up their backcourt with either Michigan point guard Trey Burke, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, or lanky and athletic Kansas shooter Ben McLemore.
Earning first-team All-Big-12 in his freshman season, many have compared McLemore’s game to future Hall of Famer Ray Allen. Burke led the Wolverines to the national championship game and was the Naismith Player of the Year, and Oladipo’s athleticism and defensive prowess should help any burgeoning team right away.
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Charlotte, Phoenix, and New Orleans hold the No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 picks, respectively, and all three could use the services of McLemore or Oladipo.
Orlando finished with the worst record in the league at 20-62 this year after sending franchise center Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers last summer. It was the first time Orlando posted a sub-.500 record since 2006, Howard’s second year in the league.
Lacking a consistent go-to scorer and any semblance of a defense, Orlando finished 24th in points scored and allowed and were 29th in three-point shooting last season.
The Magic could be assuming that the Cleveland Cavaliers will take Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, the consensus best prospect in this year’s draft, with the top overall selection. However, the Cavs have stated publicly they are also entertaining offers for their pick.
Orlando could then move down and perhaps select Burke, and gain another pick later in the draft. Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson has spent his entire nine-year career in Orlando, but Burke’s court vision, scoring ability, and overall potential could be enough for the Magic to move away from Nelson.
It is believed several big men, like Maryland seven-footer Alex Len or Indiana power forward Cody Zeller, will be available later in the lottery, and both could provide Orlando with youth and size down low.
Any rookie contracts won’t hurt the Magic and general manager Rob Hennigan’s salary cap much. With only $21 million in contracts committed to the 2014-2015 payroll, Orlando should be major players in free agency in the summer of 2014.