Report: Hornets have inquired about Magic big man Nikola Vucevic

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Jacob Rude
·2 min read
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As the NBA trade deadline nears, the Charlotte Hornets could be one of the more intriguing teams in the league. On top of having cap space that could allow them to facilitate a trade as a third team, the Hornets also have a dearth of young players and enough draft capital to figure into many other trades.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania furthered that latter point on Thursday by reporting the Hornets were among the teams that have checked in on the availability of Magic center Nikola Vucevic.

“The Celtics and Hornets are among teams interested in Magic two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic, sources said. Rival teams expect that any haul for Vucevic would have to be massive.”

This season, Vucevic is in the midst of a career-best performance, averaging 24.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 48.3% from the field and 41.2% from the 3-point line. The Magic, though, are just 13-23 and have multiple young players for the future that could lead to them parting with the 30-year-old big man.

Vucevic signed a four-year, $100 million contract in the summer of 2019. This season, he is due $26 million before being scheduled for $24 million next season and $22 million in the final year of his deal.

For the Hornets, matching money would require the team to part with Cody Zeller, who is set to become a free agent this offseason. It would also require at least one draft pick and some combination of players likely headlined by P.J. Washington or Miles Bridges.

Whether the team would be open to consolidating its assets into a player like Vucevic in hopes of making a run this season at the playoffs is a decision to be made in the coming weeks.

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