The Charlotte Bobcats have made it clear that they are looking to make the playoff’s this year, but injuries on the perimeter are threatening that goal. First, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke his hand, and now his back-up Jeff Taylor is out for the season with a torn Achilles. Rumors have emerged that the Bobcats are looking for perimeter help, and the best wing available on the trade market is the Orlando Magic’s Arron Afflalo.
After struggling in his first year with the Magic, Afflalo is thriving on the court, putting up career numbers that would be much more valuable on a contending team. Luol Deng, Evan Turner, and Dion Waiters have all been mentioned in trade rumors this year, but each one of them has a mitigating factor that lowers their value. Afflalo is the best scoring wing available, and his contract has him under team control for $7.75 million a year for this year and next, with a player option for a third year.
The Bobcats may be a wing player away from the 3rd seed in the putrid Eastern Conference. At worst, they can be looking at a 5-6 seed with a good chance to advance. Analysts were baffled when the Bobcats signed Al Jefferson over the off-season. He seamed too good to allow the team to tank, but not good enough to take the team to the next level. But with the rest of the conference suffering, the Bobcats are an Afflalo trade away from all but guaranteeing their second ever trip to the playoffs.
Charlotte has the assets to get a deal done. While they don’t own their own first round pick this year, they own both Detroit’s and Portland’s. While neither of those are likely to be lottery selections, they will be valuable in what is considered the deepest draft in years. Bismack Biyombo has never been able to crack Charlotte’s rotation with consistency, and may also be available. Whispers out of Charlotte, while quiet, suggest that they may also consider moving Kidd-Gilchrist for the right price. The former #2 pick has a limited offensive game that is very similar to Moe Harkless, but he still has plenty of room to develop. To make the contracts work, the Magic can absorb Ben Gordon’s expiring deal. Any potential deal could also include a player from Orlando’s deep stable of power forwards, such as Glen Davis.
While no deal is imminent, keep an eye on the Bobcats. Michael Jordan is desperate for the playoffs and for some franchise momentum as they transition back to the Charlotte Hornets.
Do you believe these trade rumors? What would the Magic have to receive to let go of Afflalo? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.