Grade the mock trade: Hornets flip Gordon Hayward for 12-Time All-Star

Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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We’re in the dead of the NBA offseason. The flurry of free agency moves has come and gone. All that’s left is the hope that the Charlotte Hornets find a willing trade partner for Gordon Hayward. There’s no denying that Hayward is one of the most talented players on the team’s roster. There’s also no denying that Hayward can elevate the Hornets to a potential playoff team when healthy.

However, trusting Hayward to be healthy is like expecting a hefty tax return: possible but highly unlikely.

With just one year remaining on his current contract, Hayward is an ideal trade candidate. There will undoubtedly be multiple teams who view the veteran forward as a potential missing piece to their roster and are willing to roll the dice on his ability to stay healthy in the upcoming season.

That’s good news for the Hornets, who could look to maximize any interest in Hayward’s availability to help bolster their own ranks ahead of the new NBA season.

According to NBA Analysis Network’s James Piercey, one potential trade option would be to flip Hayward to the Golden State Warriors in return for Chris Paul.

"He’s [Hayward] not going to fetch the Hornets a huge haul,” Piercey wrote. “Hayward is on an expiring contract – any team acquiring him is only taking a flier. With that in mind, this is a good return. We’ve seen the value of second-round picks in recent years. If you’re willing to move enough of them, you can land a solid rotation player. Meanwhile, Paul is an appealing backup for LaMelo Ball. He can provide some mentorship and share the floor with Ball when need be, as well. All told, this is a good deal for the Hornets – unless things change, of course.”"

Moving on from Hayward and receiving one of the greatest point guards in NBA history would certainly improve the Hornets’ roster. However, there would undoubtedly be some issues regarding fit and how Steve Clifford would look to utilize the veteran.

Does the proposed Hornets/Warriors trade make sense for Golden State?

The Warriors haven’t even had a chance to see how Chris Paul fits with their roster yet. The veteran guard was acquired earlier in the offseason in a deal that sent Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards. However, from the moment Paul was acquired by Mike Dunleavy and the Warriors front office, questions surrounding his potential fit with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have swirled.

Quickly flipping Paul for Hayward would remove those question marks and provide the Hornets with some much-needed depth at the wing positions. Hayward’s ability to operate as a point-forward would allow Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to thrive off-ball. Furthermore, Hayward would also provide additional rim pressure while also fitting with Steve Kerr’s five-out offense.

In terms of fit, Hayward is an ideal addition to the Warriors roster. Yet, the question remains whether they would be willing to move on from Paul so quickly after moving to bring him to the Chase Center.