Hornets' Gordon Hayward considered a flight risk?

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets
Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages

Of all of the players who make up the roster of this Charlotte Hornets team, there is one player in particular who is considered to be a flight risk after the season. Gordon Hayward.

Hayward is 33 years old, has one year remaining on his current contract, and is one of the oldest members of a Hornets team that is not going anywhere any time soon. This would certainly fit the criteria of someone who may not be long their current situation, which is why it is hardly surprising to see Hayward be named as a flight risk by Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey.

In Predicting 5 Biggest Flight Risks in 2024 NBA Free Agency, Bailey identifies Hayward as one of five players who could very well end up elsewhere next season. While Bailey does believe that Hayward could be a contributing player for a contending team, that does not apply to the current state of affairs in Charlotte. With the Hornets destined to be an Eastern Conference bottom-feeder at the end of the season, they may be better off focusing on the future rather than trying to squeeze every penny out of Hayward's contract.

"But Hayward turns 34 in March. He's squarely in the post-prime phase of his career. There's little to no development left for him. And every minute he spends on the floor is one that could potentially be given to younger players in need of reps, like rookie forward Brandon Miller and whomever joins the team from next year's draft."

Andy Bailey on Gordon Hayward

The reality of the situation in Charlotte is that they need to keep their eyes on the future. Continuing to roster players who are unlikely to be part of their plans beyond this season is a major disservice to the (hopeful) better years ahead. Allowing players who are currently capped from a minutes standpoint and giving them every opportunity to see the floor and develop in real-time would be in their best interest.

The angle of distributing minutes to some of the younger players on the roster is not limited to just this season, however, as this needs to be an organization-wide commitment on a year-over-year basis. While Hayward could hypothetically return after the expiration of his current deal, it would be best for the Hornets to fight that temptation and head forward as an organization instead of backward.