Coming off their second playoff sweep in as many appearances in their history, the Charlotte Bobcats will certainly look to upgrade their roster as they rebrand themselves as the Hornets for the 2014/15 campaign. And as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports, two current Orlando Magic players stand "among the Bobcats' trade targets."
Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson, the team's usual starting backcourt, could figure into Charlotte's offseason plans because it needs help, Stein says, on the wings and at backup point guard behind Kemba Walker. Bobcats coach Steve Clifford worked with Nelson in Clifford's five seasons on Stan Van Gundy's staff in Orlando.
Afflalo led the Magic with a career-best 18.2 points per game in the 2013/14 season as he became a more versatile offensive player, particularly off the dribble. He finished the season ranked eighth among qualified players in three-point shooting, converting 42.7 percent of his triple tries, and from that standpoint it's easy to understand the Bobcats' reported interest: as a team, Charlotte, shot only 35.1 percent from three-point distance, and only three teams attempted fewer total threes. Charlotte was reportedly interested in acquiring Afflalo at the NBA trade deadline.
Over his last eight seasons, Nelson has started 502 times in 510 appearances, but at 32, it's not difficult to envision him moving to a reserve role, either with Orlando or with a new team like Charlotte. In his most recent campaign, Nelson shot just 39.4 percent from the floor, but did average seven assists per game, leading the Magic and ranking ninth in the league overall.
Orlando can retain Nelson for the 2014/15 season for $8 million or let him become a free agent and owe him only $2 million. A recent report suggested that the Magic are "leaning towards" keeping their all-time assists leader.