Charlotte Hornets: Gordon Hayward doesn’t fit with current build

Charlotte Hornets Gordon Hayward (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Charlotte Hornets Gordon Hayward (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) /

Does Gordon Hayward fit on the Charlotte Hornets? 

The Charlotte Hornets, despite not qualifying for the postseason last year, were still a pleasant surprise last season. Had it not been for an injury to LaMelo Ball, there’s a strong chance they would’ve qualified for one of the top 8 seeds in the Eastern Conference.

Regardless, heading into this season, you can’t help but feel as if the Hornets are trending in the right direction. And they continued that momentum during the offseason by adding James Bouknight, Kelly Oubre Jr., and locking up Terry Rozier.

As the Hornets continue to build in the right direction, and around Ball, there’s one particular player on the roster – and one that will a big role in their rotation – that doesn’t exactly fit perfectly with the rest of the roster.

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That’s none other than Gordon Hayward. Even though he’s still a good and potentially valuable player, he doesn’t fit with the rest of the building blocks on the roster. And it could present the Hornets will an interesting opportunity as the NBA Trade Deadline approaches – trading Hayward to a contender or a more veteran-laden team.

Even though Hayward could probably help the Hornets make a strong push toward the playoffs this season, there are probably several other teams that he could help on a much bigger scale as well.

On the surface, and putting it that way, it may seem like an easy decision – absolutely, the Hornets should try to trade Hayward and add another asset or two to bulk their rebuild. Although, it’s not that simple or easy.

The Hayward situation isn’t an easy one for the Charlotte Hornets to navigate

For one, trading Hayward, who was the second-leading scorer for the Hornets last season, would potentially mean taking a bit of a step back. Additionally, the contract situation makes it difficult as well.

Hayward is due roughly due $90 million over the next three years. Even though he’s still an incredibly productive player, I’m not sure there’s any contender that would be jumping in line to pay Hayward that much money over the next few seasons – especially considering that he’s struggled mightily with injury ever since he left Utah.

But that’s the conundrum – if that’s what you want to call it – the Hornets find themselves in. Maybe, ultimately, the Hornets elect to keep Hayward on the roster as the veteran leader on-and-off the court.

Though it might be in the best interest of the team and their build to try and get something for him on the open market (if it presents itself).

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Heading into this season, Hayward is one player to keep an eye on. He’s absolutely a player that could find his way to a new team, especially if the Hornets don’t have as much success as they did to start last season.