Hornets doing right thing by making Gordon Hayward available

Denver Nuggets v Charlotte Hornets
Denver Nuggets v Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages

It took longer than anyone could have reasonably anticipated, but the Charlotte Hornets have made veteran forward Gordon Hayward available to teams via trade. This is something that should have been done a long time ago, like before the calendar flipped over to 2024, but better late than never.

The proposition of Hayward remaining in Charlotte for the entire season was one that no one should have felt comfortable betting on, and for good reason. It was obvious from the start that the Hornets were still far from being a good team, and it was unlikely that they were going to accomplish anything of consequence. Not helping matters was losing star point guard LaMelo Ball just 15 games into the season, making the issues that exist on this roster more apparent.

In all honesty, once Ball went down with another ankle injury that was expected to keep him out of action until just recently, Charlotte should have been aggressively shopping any players of value to contending teams. This is a group that not only consists of Hayward but Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges. Hayward and Bridges are set to become free agents after the year, while Rozier is under contract for two more years after the conclusion of this season, with the latter being partially guaranteed.

Hayward is not likely to bring back anything that seems all that enticing in trade. Charlotte is more likely to end up acquiring someone who is also on an expiring deal with a future second-round pick, ultimately deciding to buy out said player to allow them to sign elsewhere. But focusing on the return for Hayward is missing the point entirely. It is about understanding where this team is in terms of competitive standpoint and doing right by a player who deserves so much better than the situation in Charlotte at this time.

Should the Hornets not be able to find a suitor for Hayward before the deadline, there is the possibility that he will be bought out by Charlotte. This would not necessarily be a complete disaster for the Hornets, but it is the less attractive of the two paths that this organization could go down when it comes to Hayward.