Orlando Magic rumors: Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs have most to offer for Nikola Vucevic

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Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets
Terry Rozier signed a big contract with the Charlotte Hornets and only partially delivered in his first year. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

It has been a while since fans of the Charlotte Hornets have had a reason to be hopeful. But the arrival of LaMelo Ball has sparked a wave of optimism that reportedly has Michael Jordan’s franchise searching for ways to add to what they already have.

Their interest in Nikola Vucevic makes complete sense. The East has been weak this season and there is a real opportunity for the team to make the postseason and be competitive in the next few years with LaMelo Ball already playing at a high level and Gordon Hayward also looking like his old self. Center is really the biggest piece the team is missing — and Cody Zeller’s contract is expiring.

A big three including Vucevic gives them an enormous edge over their competition, including the Magic. This is a move that directly strengthens a rival and weakens the Magic in the short-term at the same time. In short, it’s extremely high risk.

But Charlotte does have a lot it can offer the Magic in a Vucevic trade. Most notably, Terry Rozier.

The 26-year-old has thrived since joining the Hornets after leaving the Boston Celtics. He is averaging 20.5 points per game and is shooting an incredible 43.9-percent on 7.7 attempts per game from 3-point range this season.

Rozier would be an excellent addition but there are difficulties around how he would fit in.

Rozier is a player who needs to be starting games. But with Cole Anthony progressing well before his injury and Markelle Fultz returning next season, it would be difficult to justify starting him at the one spot.

The Magic also had cap room when he was a free agent two years ago. They were among the teams many thought would chase him. But the team sat out that potential union.

He has played a lot of shooting guard for Charlotte but is very undersized for that position, though we have seen two point-guard lineups work for other teams like the Toronto Raptors.

Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets /

Charlotte Hornets

Orlando will clearly ask for a lot in any Nikola Vucevic trade, so the additions of Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington would at least give the front office something to think about. Charlotte would likely prefer throwing Zeller in there instead. But Orlando should press for at least one of those two young players.

Bridges is playing fewer minutes this season following the addition of Hayward but is still averaging a respectable 10 points per game. He has caught the eye with some monster dunks this season, largely thanks to the assistance of his team-mate LaMelo Ball, and is also comfortable shooting from three-point range.

Washington’s versatility and ability to stretch the floor from the 4 and contribute on the defensive end makes him an extremely useful player. Both he and Bridges have plenty of time left to improve and have the potential to be really good NBA players.

None of these players could come to Orlando and do what Vucevic is currently doing. But the combination of an excellent combo guard in Rozier and two up-and-coming, versatile forwards in Washington and Bridges is an intriguing prospect.

If the Magic do not feel the Hornets’ best young players suit the team, however, there might be an opportunity to secure plenty of future draft picks instead.