When Gordon Hayward was a restricted free agent back in 2014, he signed a four-year, $63 million offer sheet. However, the Utah Jazz were quick to match that offer sheet and, Hayward continued to flourish into the All-Star he is today. This summer things are different. Hayward is now an unrestricted free agent and can choose to go wherever he pleases. Also, you can count on Gordon Hayward cashing in on his recent success.
Back in 2014, it was reported that Hornets owner Michael Jordan made a big push to sign Hayward. If Jordan once again makes the big push, here are a few pros and cons of the Charlotte Hornets signing Gordon Hayward.
Pro: Star power = marketability = more revenue
Adding another All-Star into the mix would do great things for the Hornets marketability. Hayward is a well-known name across the league which, helps in jersey sales. Although he is not in the top 15 most popular jerseys league-wide, you have to figure Gordon Hayward is pretty close. Also, for the casual fans, signing Gordon Hayward can help draw interest in the Hornets as well.
Having another star in Charlotte would surely generate some buzz in, “Buzz City.” Lastly, the acquisition of Hayward helps Hornets marketing as well. Plus, who could resist seeing the 27-year-old suit up in the beautiful Hornets uniforms?
Con: What happens to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been a player the Hornets have been trying to build around since their days as the Bobcats. Without a doubt, Gordon Hayward would slot in as Charlotte's new starting Small Forward. This could make things interesting. Does Charlotte trade MKG or, do they move him to the bench? Would Kidd-Gilchrist want to come off the bench? Trading him would probably be a premature move. Kidd-Gilchrist is a very efficient defender and, at just 23 years of age could still have some great basketball ahead of him.
Pro: Getting Kemba Walker some needed help
Being successful in the Eastern Conference is a tough task. If you look at some of the top teams in the East, they all have two or more, star players. Boston has Isaiah Thomas and, Al Horford, Cleveland has LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and, Kevin Love, Washington has John Wall, Bradley Beal and, Otto Porter Jr. and lastly, Toronto has DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. For Charlotte, signing Gordon Hayward gives Kemba Walker another true star to play alongside, which, could aid the team in its pursuit of a Playoff berth and Championship glory. Having another star in However, besides money, what else would Charlotte have to give up to sign the former Butler standout?
Con: Somebody’s gotta go
As of this writing, the Hornets have the 10th highest payroll in the NBA with an allocated $103,054,004 dollars. Now, if the team is going to sign Hayward, it is surely going to be to a max-money deal. In turn, the Hornets would need to free up a significant amount of cap space. This means that either Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or, Marvin Williams would have to be moved. Batum is currently the Hornets highest paid player after signing a 5 year, $120,000,000 contract last summer. Williams and Kidd-Gilchrist on the other hand, are also under contract for the next three years. While Williams will make $13,000,000 in 2017-18, he will make $14,087,500 in 2018-2019 and, $15,006,250. Williams will also be 33 by the time his deal ends. Kidd-Gilchrist will be making $13,000,000 for the next Three years and, would probably net the Hornets the best return value.
Toss up: Could Charlotte realistically compete in the Eastern Conference? Is it worth it?
For Charlotte signing Gordon Hayward could still be a pipe dream. On the other hand, if they do sign the former All-Star, can they realistically compete in the Eastern Conference. At age 27, Hayward is still in his prime however, the end goal for every team is to win a Championship. The Eastern Conference has become super competitive over the past few seasons and, although the Hornets could probably make the Playoffs, how far could they really go? Shelling out big money to sign Hayward and only make it as far as the First or Second Round of the Playoffs may not be worth it.
Also, with all due respect, it is likely a stretch to say that a duo of Kemba Walker and, Gordon Hayward could defeat the Boston Celtics or, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The counter argument to the previous statement would be” Hayward and the Jazz beat the Clippers this year!” Very true, but, Utah is a much deeper team than the Charlotte Hornets and, this year's Jazz took advantage of the Clippers injury problems.
Signing Gordon Hayward could and, would be a short-term fix to get the Hornets back into the Playoffs however, at a period in time where the Eastern Conference is at an all time high, in the long run, the Hornets may be better off working with what they have.