With possession of the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NBA draft along with a fairly valuable trade asset in Arron Afflalo, the Orlando Magic have been heavily involved in the predraft rumors and gossip that consume us at this time of year.
This article evaluates the most popular Magic-related rumors and play a game of buy-or-sell.
For the purposes of the piece, "buying" a rumor means we think there's a high probability it will come to fruition, while "selling" a rumor obviously means the opposite.
With this being such a fun time of year, let's get right to it.
Rumor: Magic in Mix For No. 1 Pick
"The Cavs do have some interest in the Magic's offer of Arron Afflalo, the No. 4 pick and the No. 12 pick," they wrote.
This is a no-brainer deal for Orlando.
Afflalo is clearly a quality player (18.2 PPG in 2013-14), but he's not someone the Magic could build around and expect to truly contend with as a top option.
Furthermore, with HoopsHype indicating that Afflalo has a player option after next season, he could be a free agent in 2015. It's smart for Orlando to get value for him now instead of risk him simply leaving without anything to show for it.
As for the other particulars of the trade, while the Magic could get two skilled players at No. 4 and No. 12, that doesn't compare to having the chance at grabbing either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker—two superstar prospects—at No. 1.
Having a player like Wiggins or Parker would give this Magic team a realistic chance to contend in the Eastern Conference sooner than later.
Unfortunately for Orlando, the same can be said for the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is ultimately why I'm selling this trade actually happening.
Afflalo, the No. 4 pick and the No. 12 pick is a great package for the Cavs, but Parker and Wiggins are truly game-changing players. I can't see Cleveland passing on the chance to take one of them.
Rumor: Afflalo to Chicago Bulls for Draft Picks
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that the Bulls were interested in dealing for Afflalo ahead of the draft.
"Chicago owns the 16th and 19th overall picks in the draft, and assuredly one of those selections would be included in a possible package with the Magic," he wrote.
Again, the move makes a lot of sense for Orlando. Unless it trades with the Cavs and selects Wiggins or Parker at No. 1, Orlando isn't making the playoffs next year.
So, getting a top-20 pick in a deep draft and presumably at least another piece for someone whom CBSSports.com's Matt Moore writes is expected to "capitalize on being an unrestricted free agent" in 2015 is definitely enticing.
In a vacuum, it's a beneficial trade for Chicago as well.
The Bulls are absolutely in a win-now mode and in need of another scorer to pair with Derrick Rose. Additionally, Afflalo is also a great defender who would be helpful in Tom Thibodeau's scheme on that end.
However, what stands in the way of an Afflalo-to-Chicago trade happening before the draft is ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein reporting that the Bulls have emerged as an even stronger contender to land Carmelo Anthony's services in the past couple of days.
Given their financial situation, Marc Berman of the New York Post notes it's almost impossible for the Bulls to trade for Afflalo and then sign Anthony. Therefore, it would behoove the Bulls to put acquiring Afflalo on the back burner until they find out what the much better Anthony plans to do in July.
Don't expect anything to happen here, even if the Magic are interested.
Rumor: Magic Will Take Noah Vonleh at No. 4
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported on Saturday that the Magic will consider selecting Noah Vonleh (6’9.5" and 247 lbs) at No. 4.
"They want a top frontcourt player to pair with Nikola Vucevic and may not be able to get one they're comfortable with at No. 12. In that case, sources say they may opt for Indiana's Noah Vonleh with the fourth pick," he wrote.
As Berger mentions, the Magic would love to scoop up point guard Dante Exum at No. 4, but the domino effect of Joel Embiid's foot injury will likely result in Exum being selected before Orlando's on the clock.
If everything goes as ESPN's Chad Ford expects—Wiggins, Parker and Exum being the first three picks—then Vonleh represents a strong choice for the Magic.
The Indiana product impressed throughout his only year in the college game, averaging 11.3 points (52.3 percent shooting from the field and 48.5 percent shooting from three), 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
Plus, at 18 years old with great physical tools (including a wingspan of 7'4.25"), Vonleh is one of the highest-upside picks in the draft.
Although risk often comes with upside, a big man that can protect the rim, shoot and rebound the basketball will likely be too much for Orlando to pass up if Exum isn't on the board.
Measurements courtesy of DraftExpress.
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