Charlotte Hornets veteran Gordon Hayward is reportedly on the radar of “multiple playoff-caliber teams,” according to HoopsHype. The report added that while the Hornets intend to compete for a playoff spot, they would eventually look to give Brandon Miller more playing time at Hayward's expense should they stay outside the Play-In Tournament picture.
Charlotte is currently 12th in the Eastern Conference standings with a 5-11 record. With franchise star LaMelo Ball slated to miss an extended period of time, a postseason berth for the Hornets is looking pretty bleak at this point.
Nonetheless, it isn't really a surprise that Hayward is gaining attention in the trade market among playoff contenders. Though he is no longer in his prime, the 6-foot-7 wing could still be a key contributor to a winning program.
Still, it will be interesting just how many teams are going to line up to call the Hornets to acquire Hayward's services. The former Butler standout is currently on the back end of a four-year $120 million deal he signed in 2020. He is making $31.5 million this season and will become an unrestricted free agent this upcoming summer.
Moving Hayward makes a ton of sense for the Hornets. He is on an expiring deal and will likely not return to Charlotte next season, so they might as well get some value out of him. Moreover, it would be wise for the Hornets to focus on the development of their No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller, who should ideally get as much in-game reps as he can.
Hayward has played in all but one game this season and has started in each of his 15 appearances for the Hornets. The soon-to-be 34-year-old is still quite productive, with averages of 13.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. However, he is just shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from beyond the arc, both of which are career lows for the 14-year veteran.