After another first round loss in the playoffs, the Charlotte Bobcats think it's time for a change. They will be looking to improve their roster, and their brand, as they return to their original 'Hornets' name for the 2014/15 Season.
This offseason, the changes to Charlotte's roster may begin in Florida.
Rumor has it that Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson, the Magic's usual starting backcourt, could figure into Charlotte's offseason regroup. According to Marc Stein at ESPN, Orlando has Charlotte's attention because coach Steve Clifford came to value Nelson as he worked with him while on Stan Van Gundy's staff in Orlando. Since then, Clifford has also come to like Afflalo, too, and he would like both of them on his Bobca...err, Hornets next year.
Afflalo led the Magic with a career-best 18.2 points per game in the 2013/14 season as he became an improved offensive threat, particularly off the dribble. He finished the season ranked eighth among qualified players in three-point shooting, converting 42.7 percent of his threes, As a team, Charlotte only shot 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, to try and improve in this category.
Nelson has started over 500 times in his last eight seasons in the NBA. Still, at 32, it's not difficult to envision him moving to a reserve role no matter where he lands next year. This season, Nelson ranked ninth in the league in assist, and led the magic in that category. Orlando has the right to retain Nelson for the 2014/15 season for $8 million, or they can let him enter free agency for $2 million.
Too bad for Clifford, A recent report suggested that the Magic are "leaning towards" keeping their all-time assists leader.
Charlotte also has their eye on Zach Randolph from Memphis Grizzlies. The power forward has been one of the biggest reasons for the Grizzlies' success over the last few seasons, but there is a chance he has played his last game with the team because now that he is a free agent, he could be out of the Grizzlies' price range.
According to a report from Basketball Insiders, Randolph could join the revamped Hornets next year, also.
Charlotte may have close to $20 million in cap space this summer, so they may be able to pull Randolph and Afflalo without too much work, depending on the nature of the contracts.
Charlotte also showed interest this year in Los Angeles Lakers' power forward Pau Gasol, who is also set to become a free agent, and is still an option.
Randolph averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season.