NBA Trades: Oklahoma City Thunder acquire Gordon Hayward to cement contender status

The Oklahoma City Thunder make their big move to acquire Gordon Hayward at the NBA Trade Deadline.
Charlotte Hornets v Indiana Pacers
Charlotte Hornets v Indiana Pacers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

NBA Trades: The Oklahoma City Thunder look to solidify their stance as a Western Conference contender by acquiring Gordon Hayward.

As the action surrounding the NBA Trade Deadline picks up, contenders are lining up to make a final push toward cementing their status across the league. One of the more surprising teams this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder, is no different. All of a sudden, the Thunder emerged as a real threat to win the Western Conference this season. At the very least, this is a team that has the hopes of making a deep playoff run.

Making a bold move at the trade deadline would go a long way in helping the Thunder get to that point heading into the final stretch of the season. Hours before the deadline, the Thunder made their move. Oklahoma City acquired Gordon Hayward from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Tre Mann and Davis Bertans.

Thunder Hayward

Even though Hayward is no longer in the prime of his career, he will give the Thunder a valued veteran presence that they currently don't have on their roster. Hayward is a versatile wing who will give OKC some added flexibility heading into the push toward the playoffs.

Gordon Hayward could play a key role down the stretch for the Oklahoma City Thunder

Hayward has been battling a calf injury recently but the hope is that he's going to be back soon. Hayward was averaging 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent shooting from 3-point range.

Hayward should give the Thunder a strong presence both on and off the floor. For a team as young as the Thunder is, the addition of Hayward at the trade deadline can't be overlooked.

After the season, Hayward is expected to test free agency. However, if all pans out over the last few months of the season, perhaps he could find a new home in Oklahoma City. The Thunder are just scratching the surface of what they can be and this team is only going to get better as the season goes on.

If the Thunder can remain healthy, they're going to be a team that no one will want to face in a seven-game series. Adding some much-needed experience with Hayward could go a long way in helping them down the stretch.

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Can the Thunder win the West? It may be too early to tell. However, there's no question that they got better with the move for Hayward. That much is a certainty.