The Charlotte Hornets (then Bobcats) were the most improved team in basketball last season.
The Hornets added big man Al Jefferson last year and he helped them improve from 21 wins to 43 wins and a playoff appearance. Now, the Hornets are looking to make another big splash this offseason. There have been rumors that the Hornets could be willing to part with the ninth-overall pick they received from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders believes the Hornets are indeed interested in Afflalo, but doesn’t think the Magic are all that interested in the ninth-overall pick.
As for the Charlotte — I can tell you for about 9 months the Bobcats have been at Orlando regarding Afflalo. Steve Clifford is supposedly a big fan and views him as an answer to some of their big problems. Orlando has been unwilling to make a deal.
I don’t think the #9 has a ton of value to Orlando. They have a closet full of young guys, so much so that there is talk here in Italy that the #12 might be used on a “draft and stash” guy. The Magic want to be a playoff team next year and bringing two or three rookies in, may not help them achieve that. I believe Arron is more valuable to them as a veteran and efficient score than he is in trade, unless he returns rookie scale veterans — guys in their third or fourth year. Not saying they won’t deal Arron to move around, because I know that they would, but they do not feel “urgency” to move Arron.
Afflalo, who is open to being dealt to a playoff team, was excellent for the Magic this year and had the best season of his career. He averaged 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 45.9% from the field, 42.7% from beyond the arc and 81.5% from the free throw line.