The Charlotte Hornets entered the 2023-24 season with relatively low expectations and the possibility that they become sellers at some point. The relatively uninspiring start to the campaign has not changed the perception of where this team will end when the season ends. This is why it is not entirely surprising to see a veteran member of this Hornets team mentioned as a possibility for a Western Conference contender.
The player and the team in question are hardly a surprise. Sir Charles in Charge’s Michael Saenz believes that Gordon Hayward would be an ideal fit for the Los Angeles Lakers. While Hayward is currently averaging his highest points per game total since his first season in Charlotte, it is unlikely that the 33-year-old veteran is going to make enough of a difference for a Hornets team that is destined to be an also-ran. However, he could be effective as a role player on a team that is much more complete at this time.
"“While he may not move the needle all that much for a rebuilding team like the Charlotte Hornets, there’s no question that he could emerge as a difference-making cog for a championship-contender team like the Los Angeles Lakers. If he can remain healthy, he could be very much what the Lakers need on the wing.”"
An argument can be made that the current version of Hayward is a much better match on a roster like Los Angeles’ due to the already-established roster that will more than likely be looking for the right complementary pieces later in the season. The Lakers are going to make moves to transform their team, and an addition of Hayward to their current roster makeup would make a ton of sense.
It ultimately comes down to understanding where the Hornets are in their competitive cycle and identifying who will and who will not be part of their future. Hayward is clearly someone who is not part of their plans beyond this season, and it will only be a matter of time before he is moved by Charlotte.