Hornets get serious, deal Hayward and Washington at NBA trade deadline

Feb 24, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington (25) with forward Gordon Hayward (20)
Feb 24, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington (25) with forward Gordon Hayward (20) / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline has finally come and gone. The chips have fallen where they may. And the Hornets made some big moves, with two separate deals on deadline day, parting with franchise mainstays, Gordon Hayward and P.J. Washington.

Rumors have been swirling for weeks, but there was plenty of doubt about whether the Hornets would actually be able to get anything done. Early in the morning, news came out that Miles Bridges would be staying in Charlotte, saying he would veto any deal.

The Hayward trade

But hours later, reports came out that Gordon Hayward had been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Tre Mann, Vasilije Micic, Davis Bertans, and draft picks. This was great to hear, and the fact the team was able to get something for Hayward is huge.

The draft compensation remains unknown, but will likely be announced as a late 2nd rounder or two. Tre Mann is a 23-year-old guard who has gotten better on a deep Thunder team, but he can shoot the lights out, and can definitely replace Ish Smith. I’m excited to see what Mann can do in a bigger role.

Micic is a fun player, the big guard is a rookie who was drafted in 2014 by the Sixers. He’s already 30 years old, but he’s an excellent passer and a very fun and creative offensive player to watch. He’s had a hard time finding minutes in OKC, but like Mann, could thrive with a bigger role. 

His age may not fit the timeline in Charlotte, but with two more years on a cheap contract ($7.7m this year and next, then $8.1m in 2025-26), he could be a prime trade candidate going forward if he looks good for the Hornets.

Bertans had to be included in the deal to make the money work, as the Latvian sniper makes $17 million this year, but his deal isn’t fully guaranteed for next season. His days of playing in NBA rotations are likely in the rearview.

The Washington trade

The Hornets traded P.J. Washington and two second-round picks to the Mavericks in exchange for Seth Curry, Grant Williams, and a 2027 first-round pick. P.J. is a solid player and only 25 years old, on a good contract. It’s a shame to see him go, but this is a great move by the Hornets.

The key cog is the first-round pick, protected only for the top 2 selections. In the perfect world, Luka Doncic bolts from Dallas, and the Mavs bottom out, sending a top-10 pick to Charlotte. But even if that’s not the case, the Mavs have made some questionable roster decisions, and even with Luka, they are not guaranteed a playoff spot. This should be a very strong asset for the Hornets going forward.

Williams had some nice playoff moments with the Celtics, but things have not panned out at all in Dallas. He’s an undersized big with a shred of wing skills and a solid - but streaky jump shot. He is a good defender across multiple positions with some switchability. But Grant has struggled a lot, especially on offense this season. 

Still, he’s a few months younger than P.J. and can provide a comparable level of production at the same position. Grant will also bring a little edge and some much-needed toughness and playoff experience to the Hornets. It’s a fine reclamation project and a player who was highly sought after by playoff teams not that long ago.

Getting Curry to Charlotte is obviously a feel-good story. He has one more year on his deal at $4 million. As fun as it will be to see him playing for his hometown team, in front of Dell every night, Seth is 33 years old and may seek a buyout to join a contender. But we can enjoy it while it lasts, and hopefully, he’ll suit up and hit some shots.

I would have loved to see Josh Green head to the Hornets but overall I’m thrilled about this deal. The first-round pick is a great asset to have and Williams could easily be a similar value to P.J. before long.

The early verdict

These were two very good moves for the Hornets and it’s beyond encouraging to see them have a nice trade deadline, and truly rip off the band-aid, with the focus squarely on the future. No more Terry Rozier, no more Gordon Hayward, no more P.J. Washington. It feels weird, but this is a good step in the right direction. Much more on both deals coming soon to Swarm and Sting!