Free agent ahead Gordon Hayward is becoming a member of the Charlotte Hornets.
Hayward opted out of the ultimate yr of his four-year max contract with the Celtics on Thursday. Based on ESPN, which first reported his transfer to the Hornets, Hayward is signing a four-year, $120 million take care of Charlotte. It offers the injury-plagued 30-year-old former all-star the massive cash and long-term stability he was in search of when he opted out of the ultimate yr of his take care of the Celtics, which might have paid him $34.2 million for the 2020-21 season.
Hayward’s time as a Celtic is finest identified for the time he missed.
He suffered a grotesque left foot and ankle damage simply six minutes into his Celtics debut on opening night time in 2017 and missed the remainder of the 2017-18 season. He returned the next season and appeared in 72 video games (18 begins) however his recreation clearly nonetheless wasn’t the place it was earlier than the damage.
This previous season, he regained his outdated type, averaging 17.5 factors, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 52 common season video games. He additionally shot 50% from the ground and 38.3% from 3-point land.
Nonetheless, he suffered a Grade 3 sprain of his proper ankle in Recreation 1 of the Celtics’ first spherical playoff collection in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers and solely appeared in 5 playoff video games complete through the Celts’ run to the Jap Convention finals within the Walt Disney World bubble.
Hayward performed in simply 14 playoff video games as a Celtic and began just one. He averaged 10 factors and 4 rebounds within the postseason, whereas taking pictures simply 40.8%. Reliability was all the time the problem with Hayward in Boston.
It’s actually comprehensible why Hayward would desire a change of surroundings. It by no means labored out for him right here and with the emergence of younger stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and the addition of level guard Kemba Walker, Hayward was no higher than the workforce’s fourth offensive possibility.
It was all sufficient for him to willingly go away $34.2 million on the desk and check out his luck in an underwhelming free agent market the place his providers can be desired elsewhere. The Hornets, who signed Hayward to a proposal sheet in 2014 as a restricted free agent earlier than the Utah Jazz matched it, are banking on Hayward resembling the All-Star that he grew to become throughout his seven-season tenure in Utah.
For the Celtics, it’s nonetheless a troublesome tablet to swallow. Whereas Charlotte very effectively might have overpaid for Hayward, the C’s watched a 3rd all-star expertise stroll out the door within the final two off-seasons mixed. In the summertime of 2019, guard Kyrie Irving left for the Brooklyn Nets and massive man Al Horford opted out of his ultimate yr to signal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The narrative was that the Celtics couldn’t land free brokers. Then Horford and Hayward got here and altered that. The narrative is now changing into the Celtics can’t get them to remain.
NBA free company opened on Friday. There was a mad sprint across the league to achieve agreements with gamers, who can formally signal new contracts on Sunday at 12:01 p.m.
The Celtics have been quiet so far. Realizing they had been more likely to lose Hayward, they had been reportedly concerned in potential sign-and-trade offers with the Indiana Pacers. Hayward reportedly had a robust want to return house to Indiana, however the one method the Pacers would’ve been in a position to make that work by way of cap house was to ship belongings to Boston.
A high precedence for the C’s is to signal Tatum to a max extension. The workforce additionally has clear wants for taking pictures and frontcourt assist, particularly after buying and selling middle Enes Kanter to the Portland Path Blazers on Friday as a part of a three-team deal that solely introduced again future draft belongings to the Celtics.