As the Orlando Magic were not able to move Aaron Gordon ahead of last month’s trade deadline, the 24-year-old forward still finds himself surrounded by rumors suggesting that he may be playing for another team in the 2020-21 season. One such report hints that the Charlotte Hornets are one of the teams that could give him a chance to live up to his potential as a former No. 4 overall draft pick.
As noted by Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes, the Hornets aren’t “totally out of the woods” as one of the NBA’s more “hopeless” organizations. While the team has freed up some salary-cap space after waiving veteran forwards Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams, the Hornets still have a few “overcompensated” players such as wingman Nicolas Batum and center Cody Zeller. But with Zeller set to remain as Charlotte’s only contracted center in the summer of 2020, Hughes suggested that the team could beef up its frontcourt by acquiring Gordon in exchange for guard Terry Rozier, a lottery-protected 2021 draft selection, and the 2020 second-round pick they previously acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Talking about the Hornets’ prospects if the hypothetical trade pushes forward, Hughes wrote that the erstwhile Magic starter could slot in as an undersized center in lineups where first-year standout P.J. Washington is used as a power forward. The Bleacher Report writer added that moving Rozier to Orlando could also allow Charlotte to replace him with a larger shooting guard who could start alongside Devonte’ Graham. These moves, as noted, have the potential to jump-start an offense that is presently ranked in the NBA’s bottom three.
????️ Aaron Gordon breaks free! ????️ pic.twitter.com/DwHz2CDECm
— NBA (@NBA) February 27, 2020
Although Gordon’s lack of consistency from three-point range — a weakness shared by Hornets forward/guard Miles Bridges — was mentioned as a possible concern, Hughes speculated that Charlotte could work around the possible lack of spacing by employing a “kick-and-drive” offense, not unlike the one used by the Houston Rockets. He added that the Magic forward’s penchant for flashy dunks could also be highlighted with the Hornets, especially when playing alongside a similarly athletic youngster like Bridges.
Meanwhile, Rozier’s ongoing breakout season with the Hornets and consequently high market value were brought up as reasons why the team should consider moving him. As for why the Magic could benefit from acquiring the 25-year-old, Hughes explained that Orlando has long been in need of a quality starting point guard — a role Rozier could play if he moves to the Magic and is asked to play his natural position after spending 2019-20 at the two-guard spot.