Report: Gordon Hayward is ‘a name to watch’ in the trade market this offseason
According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, “Gordon Hayward is a name to watch when it comes to the trading market.” (H/T Launderer Report)
Scotto noted that striker Miles Bridges is expected to earn a big salary this summer. This could put the Charlotte Hornets in a tough spot financially. Moving Hayward would undoubtedly free up cap space and could help the team add more flexibility in the future.
Regarding Hayward’s business value, Scotto spoke to several league executives. They told Scotto that “Hayward is considered a neutral asset who is a good player, but has been injury prone for the past three seasons.”
Hayward spent the last two seasons in Charlotte and the previous one with the Boston Celtics. During those three years, he played 145 regular season games. That equates to around 64% of games, meaning he’s missed more than a third of all regular season games over the past three seasons.
An executive who spoke to Scotto had this to say about Charlotte’s ability to trade the veteran forward:
I’m sure they can exchange it. I don’t think they’re going to release a ton of money. They will bring back players that cost a little less.
Maybe you can trade it in for two coins earning $10-15 million a year. I’m sure there will be a market for him because at the end of the day he’s a very good winger.
Based on that prediction, one trade partner that comes to mind is the LA Clippers, who are rumored to be buying Marcus Morris this offseason. A swap of Morris and Luke Kennard for Hayward would work financially, but it wouldn’t take any long-term money off the books for Charlotte. However, this would split a large contract into two smaller ones.
As the Clippers look to challenge for a championship next season, adding a proven veteran like Hayward might be something they’re interested in. That being said, Kennard has been a phenomenal ground spacer for LA, so they might be hesitant to trade him.
Other teams that stand out as potential trade destinations include the Dallas Mavericks (Tim Hardaway Jr.), Portland Trail Blazers (Eric Bledsoe and/or Jusuf Nurkic sign-and-trade) and Utah Jazz (Rudy Gobert) .
Obviously, some of those options are more realistic than others, but not every team has the money to match Hayward’s salary in a deal. The talent is there, but as Scotto noted, injury issues could also get in the way.
As the Hornets embark on their search for a new head coach, Mitch Kupchak will also have other moves in mind. And given Bridges’ extension status and Hayward’s inability to stay on the pitch, trading him could be high on his priority list.