NBA Rumors: Hornets Could Get Nikola Vucevic For Package Centered On Terry Rozier, Per ‘Bleacher Report’

Although the Charlotte Hornets made significant progress in their rebuilding efforts this offseason, a recent list of trade ideas recommended another transaction that could help improve their chances of making the playoffs in 2021 — a deal for Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic.

As related by Bleacher Report on Tuesday, the Hornets made two big moves in recent weeks that could accelerate their rebuild, which started when Kemba Walker joined the Boston Celtics last summer. These included the addition of No. 3 overall pick LaMelo Ball via this year’s draft, as well as the acquisition of free-agent wingman Gordon Hayward, who is coming off a resurgent season with the Celtics. However, the outlet hinted that the Hornets could take a “similarly opportunistic” approach when upgrading their frontcourt.

In the hypothetical transaction, the Hornets would acquire Vucevic and veteran forward Al-Farouq Aminu from the Magic for a package that includes point guard Terry Rozier, center Cody Zeller, and a lottery-protected first-round selection from the 2021 draft. This deal, as noted, could address a need in the middle and give Charlotte a rotation that has “top-10 potential” on offense. It was also speculated that the move could help the Hornets become one of the top six seeds in the Eastern Conference, or at least compete in the play-in tournament ahead of the playoffs.

“Between Ball, Hayward, Vucevic, P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges, Charlotte would field five serviceable-or-better spacers, three prolific passers, one explosive finisher and a dot-connecting glue guy. Swap in Devonte’ Graham for one of the forwards, and the shooting and distributing both spike.”

Although he failed to return to the All-Star Game after making his first appearance in 2019, Vucevic still had a good season for Orlando in 2019-20, averaging 19.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists and shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from beyond the arc, per Basketball-Reference.

As for the Magic, Bleacher Report wrote that one of the main benefits of the theoretical deal would be the salary-cap space created when Vucevic (three years, $72 million) and Aminu (two years, $19.9 million) get moved to Charlotte. However, the publication stressed that Rozier, at 26 years old, is “just young enough” to fit into the organization’s timeline and that Zeller could be “flipped” for a veteran on an expiring contract, even if he may be good enough to start in the middle for Orlando.

While Vucevic hasn’t been mentioned in a lot of trade rumors this offseason, the Hornets are not the only possible landing spot that has been brought up for the 30-year-old center. In October, one proposed scenario suggested that the Golden State Warriors could acquire him for a package centered on starting small forward Andrew Wiggins.

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