It has been quite some time since the Charlotte Hornets were major players in NBA free agency. That has changed this offseason, as Michael Jordan and company made a big move to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract.
While there are reasons to be excited about the move, there are also reasons to be concerned. Hayward is a former All-Star, but he has not been that player for awhile. He is still a quality piece, but not the franchise player that he once was.
One NBA scout, who asked to remain anonymous, spoke to NBA Analysis Network about the Hornets’ big deal to land Hayward. To say he was not a big fan of the move would be an understatement.
“I mean come on, $120 million for Hayward? He’s a good player, but you can’t give him $30 million per year. Hayward is good for 15-17 points per game, but you simply can’t make that mistake. He can’t power a franchise. Charlotte obviously didn’t learn from the Batum deal.”
That is a blunt and to the point statement. Hayward may head to the Hornets and shock all of us and become the All-Star that he once was. He certainly did not have the role that would have helped him get back to that level with the Celtics.
Last season with Boston, Hayward ended up averaging 17.5 points per game to go along with 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He shot 50 percent from the floor and knocked down 38.3 percent of his three-point attempts.
Those numbers don’t look bad. He put up that production being the No. 3 or 4 option behind Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart. In Charlotte, there is a good chance that Hayward will be the Hornets’ primary offensive focal point.
At 30 years old, Hayward was hoping to head home to play for the Indiana Pacers. Indiana could not work out a sign-and-trade deal with the Celtics. Instead, he is heading to a place that he feels can give him a chance to be an All-Star caliber player, while also getting paid huge money.
Did the Hornets overpay to sign Gordon Hayward? Absolutely, there is no question about that. But, they needed to overpay to get him.
Expect to see a high level of pressure being put on Hayward to perform up to his contract in Charlotte. He has proved doubters wrong his whole career, and perhaps this will be another chance for him to do just that.