NBA Trade Rumors: Charlotte Hornets Could Swap Cody Zeller For Nikola Vucevic

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic is expected to be one of the most coveted big men on the trade market before the 2021 trade deadline. Though the Magic haven't shown a strong indication that they are planning to move him during the 2020-21 NBA season, they are still highly likely to receive trade inquiries from teams that are hoping to boost their frontcourt and add more star power on their roster. One of the teams that could express a strong interest in acquiring Vucevic from Orlando is the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hornets may be off to a strong start, but there are still plenty of things that they need to improve on their roster in order to have a better chance of reaching the playoffs this year. To further solidify their frontcourt, specifically the starting center position, Brett Siegel of NBA Analysis Network suggested that the Hornets should consider swapping Cody Zeller for Vucevic before the 2021 trade deadline.

Zeller, alone, wouldn't be enough to convince the Magic to send one of their players to Charlotte. In the potential deal with the Hornets, they would likely require the inclusion of a young player and a future first-round pick in the trade package. However, Siegel believes that sacrificing some of their precious trade assets to acquire Vucevic would be worth it for the Hornets.

"Adding Vucevic gives the Hornets plenty of weapons and all of a sudden, they are a team who could potentially pull off an upset of one of the better teams in the East. This team plays hard and with a lot of energy, which is why adding a reliable, All-Star talent like Vucevic could be the final piece to their playoff puzzle. They would have 7 double-digit scorers and be one of the tougher teams in the league to guard, especially given their ability to shoot from the perimeter."

Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic shoots as Bruce Brown #1 of the Brooklyn Nets defends during the second half at Barclays Center on January 16, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Getty Images | Sarah Stier

Vucevic would undeniably be an incredible replacement for Zeller at Orlando's starting center position. He would give them an All-Star caliber big man who is a very reliable scoring option, a monster rebounder, and a legitimate threat from beyond the arc. This season, the 30-year-old center is posting incredible numbers, averaging 22.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from the three-point range, per ESPN.

The potential acquisition of Vucevic may not be enough to put the Hornets on the same level as Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics. However, if he meshes well with Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, Terry Rozier, and LaMelo Ball, it would make them a tougher team to beat in a best-of-seven series.