Trade Scenario No. 2 – Charlotte Hornets
Orlando Magic Receive: C Cody Zeller, F Miles Bridges, G Malik Monk, CHA 2022 1st Round Pick, CHA 2026 1st Round Pick (Top-10 Protected)
Charlotte Hornets Receive: C Nikola Vucevic
The Hornets have definitely improved a lot this past offseason and look like a completely different team this year, in a good way, but the one thing they are still lacking is production in their frontcourt. Second-year big man P.J. Washington has been solid at the power-forward position, but with Cody Zeller out, this team has no identity at the center position and as a result, are not a terrific rebounding team.
Overall, the Hornets are not that great of an offensive team and given their struggles rebounding, they could really benefit from adding an established All-Star like Vucevic to control their frontcourt. Washington can be a great complimentary player in the frontcourt, but he is not capable of leading things down-low for the Hornets.
The Hornets have not been to the playoffs since 2016 and while acquiring Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball definitely helps their chances of making it back to the postseason in the Eastern Conference, they still seem like they are one piece away. They do not have much depth nor production in their frontcourt, which is exactly why a guy like Nikola Vucevic could be the difference maker for this team this season.
Giving up Cody Zeller and Malik Monk would not really hurt the Hornets’ chances of winning, but trading away Miles Bridges would definitely be a hard loss on their bench. The third-year wing has averaged 9.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and has shot 44.1% from the floor during his career, and given his athletic abilities and potential, he definitely carries a lot of value with him.
On the Magic, Miles Bridge could be an extremely important player for them, especially since they have Aaron Gordon. Both of these guys use their athleticism to take advantage of slower opponents and as a result, the Magic could ultimately turn into a great athletic and transition-oriented team.
Rookie guard Cole Anthony is also a high-motor guy who loves to push the pace of the game and younger guys like James Ennis and Dwyane Bacon from the Hornets are more than capable of running in transition as well. This could be an excellent fit for the Magic and while losing Vucevic definitely hurts their chances of success in the short-term, the addition of a guy like Miles Bridges helps their chances of success in the long-term.
Acquiring Nikola Vucevic definitely puts the Hornets in the playoffs and they could possibly be a team that could make some noise and threaten some of the top teams in the East. Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Nikola Vucevic would be a high-scoring trio and with role players like Devonte’ Graham and LaMelo Ball, Charlotte would be set up for a lot of success moving forward.