Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward once again finds himself sidelined to an injury. The former All-Star missed 33 games to injury this past regular season, including 26 of the Hornets’ final 27 games.
This has led to renewed speculation that Charlotte will look to trade Hayward once the 2022 offseason comes calling.
“The final stretch also provided a glimpse of what the Hornets might look like without Hayward on the roster. The emergence of Bridges, not to mention Ball’s high usage rate, meant fewer playmaking opportunities for Hayward within Charlotte’s offense.
Word has circulated amongst rival front offices that the 32-year-old swingman would be interested in a change of scenery this offseason, although a source close to Hayward told B/R he’s primarily focused on recovering from his injured foot.”Bleacher Report’s Jakes Fischer on Gordon Hayward situation
Set to count north of $61 million against the cap over the next two seasons and with a laundry list of injury issues, Hayward likely won’t be a valuable commodity on the trade block.
With that said, there’s still a lot to like about his game. The former Utah Jazz All-Star is averaging 17.7 points and 5.2 rebounds on 38% shooting from distance since the start of the 2015-16 season.
Below, we look at three ideal Gordon Hayward trade scenarios from the Charlotte Hornets.
Los Angeles Lakers land Gordon Hayward
- Lakers get: Gordon Hayward, Mason Plumlee
- Hornets get: Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, three 2nd-round picks
It’s highly unlikely Charlotte would simply waive Westbrook if it acquired the struggling veteran from Los Angeles. Rather, he’d join a backcourt led by LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier. At this point, Westbrook will likely have to take a reserve role if he wants to join a playoff-contending team.
Charlotte had also shown interest in Westbrook before the NBA trade deadline. This can’t be lost on the whole thing. Meanwhile, the Hornets add a young sharpshooter in Reaves and three second-round picks to take on Westbrook’s bloated contract.
As for the Lakers, it’s obvious that they are going to look to trade Westbrook during the summer after a disastrous first season with the team. The former NBA MVP’s season-ending press conference magnified this to a T.
Los Angeles adds a player in Hayward who is capable of averaging 20 points per game. It also brings in a veteran big man to work with Anthony Davis. This would be the best of both worlds for embattled general manager Rob Pelinka and Co.
Gordon Hayward heads back to the Utah Jazz in blockbuster
- Jazz get: Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, James Bouknight, 2023 first-round pick
- Hornets get: Rudy Gobert
The one missing piece for a playoff-contending Hornets team has been a true center. Imagine Gobert teaming up with the likes of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges in the Hornets’ lineup. Realistically, this would make Charlotte one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference moving forward.
- Rudy Gobert stats (2021-22): 15.6 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 71% shooting
Recent reports suggest that the Jazz might look to move Gobert during the summer pending the results of its playoff run. The three-time All-Star is mired in a longstanding rift with fellow star teammate Donovan Mitchell. Meanwhile, it’s not unreasonable to believe that the two have reached their ceiling in Salt Lake City.
This particular trade scenario lands Utah a player in Hayward who starred for the team from 2010-17. It also gives general manager Justin Zanik flexibility to pull off a blockbuster trade for another star player to team up with Mitchell. With all of their future first-round picks in place beyond 2022 and the young assets acquired in this trade, Utah would be able to add another top-end player as it retools on the fly.
Gordon Hayward heads to Big D
- Mavericks get: Gordon Hayward
- Hornets get: Davis Bertans, Dwight Powell
Charlotte already has star power in LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier. It might just look to add rotational pieces in a potential Hayward trade rather than sending off valuable assets to move his contract.
That’s where Bertans and Powell come into play. Both would serve as top-end bench options while providing something different on the second unit. Bertans is a career 40% three-point shooter while Powell provides excellent defense.
As for Dallas, it acquires another scoring threat to team up with Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie after the team won 52 regular-season games in 2021-22. In particular, Hayward’s outside shooting ability would come in handy with Doncic taking up a ton of attention on offense. It’s an ideal fit.