1:04 PM ET
ORLANDO, Fla. — Faculty basketball season ended nearly three months in the past, the NBA draft lottery was greater than a month in the past and the draft itself is later this week.
Looks as if the method ought to be winding down.
Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman sees it in a different way.
“I inform you, it is nonetheless early within the course of,” Weltman stated Monday.
Translated: The Magic have not determined but what they’re going to do on Thursday evening when the draft rolls round they usually have the No. 1 decide. Different groups have known as to gauge what the asking value could be in the event that they wish to commerce for that choice, and the Magic have evaluated all the highest candidates.
However Weltman sees no purpose to resolve something earlier than it is completely obligatory, particularly given the chance that Orlando has by holding this No. 1 decide.
“Dialogue is all the time ongoing,” Weltman stated. “However most significantly, we get to do what we wish. That is the actual profit of getting the No. 1 decide.”
The highest candidates for the decide are well-known: Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. labored out for Orlando earlier this month, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren met with the Magic for a number of days final week and Duke’s Paolo Banchero has been working out with former Magic guard Mike Miller.
Holmgren stated he got here away satisfied that “nice folks” are main the Magic.
“They have a imaginative and prescient for what they’re making an attempt to place collectively in Orlando,” Holmgren stated.
Weltman would not say that these are the one three candidates Orlando would contemplate at No. 1.
“It is confirmed that there are a whole lot of proficient gamers on the high of this draft, that is for certain,” Weltman stated.
That is the fourth time that Orlando will probably be making the No. 1 decide. The Magic took Shaquille O’Neal with the highest choice in 1992. Chris Webber was the No. 1 decide by Orlando in 1993, and he acquired traded that very same evening for Penny Hardaway and a bundle of future picks that had been ultimately became Vince Carter and, later, Miller. And in 2004, the Magic chosen Dwight Howard with the primary decide.
The No. 1 decide on Thursday will be a part of a younger core in Orlando that already contains 2017 high decide Markelle Fultz, a pair of top-eight picks from the 2021 draft in Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony — the No. 15 decide within the 2020 draft.
Orlando additionally has the No. 6 picks from the 2017 and 2018 draft, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba. It is attainable that when subsequent season begins Orlando may have as many as six lottery picks, 9 top-16 alternatives and 12 first-rounders on its roster.
That is all a part of the problem for the Magic — who even have the No. 32 and No. 35 picks this 12 months — going into Thursday: Discovering extra youth that matches with the present core, discovering methods to be higher subsequent season and sustainably higher for years to come back.
“We do wish to get higher, however not on the expense of speeding again to mediocrity,” Weltman stated. “And we do wish to have one thing sustainable. However it’s important to elevate the usual to try this. You’ll be able to’t simply keep on the basement degree, you already know, interminably. So these are conversations that we’re having, which gamers try this for us.”