Could the Charlotte Hornets look to shake things up by moving what is considered to be their worst contract? That is the idea of a recent mock trade appearing in an article from Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley. Buckley finds trading partners for every team as he produced what he believes are Realistic Trade Packages for Every NBA Team’s Worst Contract.
First, it is identifying the Hornets’ worst contract. In the eyes of Buckley, it would be that of Gordon Hayward. Hayward is entering the final year of the deal he signed with Charlotte before the 2020-21 season and is slated to make $31.5 million. Keeping in mind that Hayward is one of two players making more than $16 million this season (Terry Rozier’s $23.2 million being the other), there are not a large amount of bad contracts to choose from.
The proposed hypothetical deal has Charlotte sending Hayward to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr., Richaun Holmes, Jaden Hardy, and a 2025 second-rounder. Hardy is the focus of the deal, as it would help contribute to lightening the scoring load off of others.
"“If Charlotte did this deal, its primary motivation would be adding Hardy, a 21-year-old who popped for 21.4 points per 36 minutes on 43.8/40.4/82.3 shooting in his rookie season. If nothing else, his scoring punch would take some heat away from LaMelo Ball.”"
Even though they are considered overpaid, Buckley notes that Hardaway and Holmes could carve out a role in Charlotte should they find themselves in a competitive state. Hardaway and Holmes could prove to be valuable veterans to have on what is a (mostly) very young team. While neither would be expected to start for the Hornets, they would be able to take on that role if needed due to injury, trade, or poor performance.
Now, this is not a must-happen type of deal, but would be worth some heavy consideration if offered. Moving Hayward’s expiring deal to get three players that bolster their depth while being under contract beyond this season would be worth it.