Why Adding Gordon Hayward Could be a Great Move for the Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets Gordon Hayward. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Charlotte Hornets Gordon Hayward. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Gordon Hayward signed a 4 year, 120 million dollar deal with the Charlotte Hornets, and here’s why it could be a great move.

As announced by Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter on November 21, NBA fans got a surprise when the Charlotte Hornets went and signed Gordon Hayward to a four year, 120 million dollar deal.

Hayward is 30 years old and to the surprise of most fans, declined his 34 million dollar player option with the Boston Celtics. A big reason for this probably was the fact that his market value will only decline as he ages and this was his last chance for a big contract.

Is this an overpay for a 30-year-old in the latter year of his prime? Maybe. However, this is the biggest free agent Michael Jordan has signed since Al Jefferson in the summer of 2013.

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The sad truth for small market teams, and especially for a franchise like Charlotte is that they are going to have to pay up in order to convince big free agents to join their team. That comes with high risk, but it’s the only way to draw in big names since the team has not proven to be very competitive within the last decade. 30 million for Hayward is not an overpay, but just reality for Charlotte’s small market situation.

Gordon Hayward was one of the top free agents this offseason besides Fred VanVleet, Montrezl Harrell, Anthony Davis, and Brandon Ingram. What’s interesting about this move is that back in the summer of 2014, the soon to be Hornets offered a 4 year deal to Gordon Hayward, who was on the Jazz at the time. The Jazz matched it, but the front office clearly still had their eyes out for the forward.

Hayward will make an immediate impact on this team and in so many ways. To start, he is put in a much better role than he ever was on the Celtics. In Boston, he was a third and even fourth option for a crowded forward group. He will have a chance to prove he can be the top guy for a team with a promising young supporting cast.

He will easily be a guy that will give Charlotte 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists a night. Miles Bridges has stated that he enjoys playing the power forward position more, so Hayward can lock up that starting small forward position with Bridges potentially coming off the bench.

He will also relieve lots of pressure from newly acquired 19 year old Australian superstar LaMelo Ball. Most top rookies are expected to turn struggling franchises around immediately, but most of the time their great talent does not turn into team success (Trae Young, Karl Anthony-Towns, DeAndre Ayton). Having Hayward as well as DeVonte Graham at his disposal will really help Ball’s transition to the league and the team be much smoother.

Gordon Hayward also brings solid playoff and veteran experience to a very young team who mostly have no playoff experience at all. He is also a fantastic teammate and off the court guy. Many of the young players (Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, Malik Monk, Martin twins) will certainly learn a lot from a player like Hayward stepping in. If Mitch Kupchak is trying to get this team back to playoff contention, Hayward is a great first step.

Finally, the addition of Gordon Hayward raises Charlotte as a potential destination for free agents in the future. The 2021 offseason offers one of the strongest free agent classes in awhile and hypothetically, if LaMelo Ball shows plenty of promise and Gordon Hayward helps this team get to a 7-9 seed in the East, all of a sudden this young team gives free agents more incentives to join.

Gordon Hayward certainly will not turn this team into a contender in the Eastern Conference immediately but is a huge piece of the puzzle in the Hornet’s quest to make some noise in this league.

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