Trade suggestion has Hornets dealing Hayward and landing star big

Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Could the Charlotte Hornets find a way to move Gordon Hayward while getting younger and improving their starting lineup? That is what is being proposed in a recent article appearing on Bleacher Report.

Andy Bailey put together 1 Trade for Every NBA Team a Month Before New Season, and it has the Hornets making a big-time move. The proposed deal has Charlotte sending Hayward, Nick Richards, and a 2026 first-round draft selection to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for DeAndre Ayton.

"“Charlotte has been in need of a consistent 5 for years, and though Mark Williams showed some potential last season, we already know Ayton is a borderline 20-10 guy who’s only three years older than LaMelo Ball. Together, those two could develop into one of the best inside-out duos in the league. And if surrounded by plenty of shooters (like Brandon Miller), the Hornets could push for a playoff spot as early as this season.”"

Acquiring a player as talented as Ayton would be huge for the Hornets. Charlotte needs to find a way to add young talent, and this could be the best avenue to help improve the team in the short and long term. Additionally, Ayton being under contract through the 2025-26 season would allow the organization to operate with known future financial commitments and build around the core of the team accordingly.

If Charlotte were to land Ayton through this trade, it would bump second-year big man Mark Williams from the starting lineup. As Bailey mentioned, Williams did show some promise toward the end of last season, but it is important not to put too much stock into what he was able to accomplish at the tail end of 2022-23. There are plenty of cases of a player overperforming their skill level, resulting in a misleading assessment of their talent.

This deal would instantly improve the Hornets and remove any uncertainty about whether or not they have their future center.  Additionally, Ayton is a far superior player than Williams, and his acquisition would simultaneously raise their floor and ceiling. Charlotte would be wise to pull the trigger on this deal or something similar should anything resembling it be on the table.