When ESPN’s Chad Ford suggested that the Orlando Magic would only consider an Arron Afflalo trade if they received multiple first round picks or young prospects in return, people thought the asking price was absurd. They assumed that this was a simple case of the Magic overvaluing their own player. But the reality is that General Manager Rob Hennigan is actually correctly devaluing those first round picks.
With so many teams tanking this season, one would assume that draft picks have never been more valuable. That’s simply not true. Teams are tanking to get high draft picks. They feel they can’t get good value later in the lottery, so they are actively trying to be as bad as possible to assure themselves a top 5 pick.
The only teams interested in trading for Arron Afflalo are playoff teams looking to improve. That means the first round draft picks the Magic would receive would wind up in the back half of the draft and wouldn’t be nearly as valuable as people are assuming. Adding Afflalo would only make that pick less valuable as he would improve the team he goes to. It’s very hard to find a productive player near the end of the first round. Most likely you’re looking at acquiring two bench players in return for a borderline all-star. That’s not a great return.
How can we quantify that value? 82games.com has done some interesting research concerning the relative value of NBA draft picks. At the most extreme, the 30th pick in the draft has 20% of the value of the first pick in the draft. And players picked 26th-30th in the draft are actually paid more than they are worth.
In fact the Magic would actually likely get more value if they traded Afflalo to the Milwaukee Bucks for two second round picks. Second round picks don’t receive guaranteed contracts, giving their team more payroll and roster flexibility. No one would suggest that the Magic trade Afflalo for two second round picks, so why are they balking at the idea of two low value first round picks?
What do you think? Will an Arron Afflalo trade return two first round picks? Should the Magic consider it if it does? Let us know in the comments section below. Want more Magic news? Hit up our newsletter!