From Gordon Hayward to John Wall, the NBA off-season has had its major share of trades and free agent signings. These signings or trades can transform any team either to playoff contenders or a bust.
The NBA recently conducted its 19th annual NBA.com GM survey. According to the survey, the most shocking move of all was the Charlotte Hornets signing Gordon Hayward.
The other shocking moves included the Houston Rockets trading Russell Westbrook for Washington Wizards’ John Wall, Jerami Grant leaving the Denver Nuggets and joining the Detroit Pistons and Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell joining city rivals Los Angeles Lakers.
Why Gordon Hayward Joining the Hornets was the most shocking move?
Gordon Hayward’s stint with the Boston Celtics was a mixed bag. When he was on the court, he was impressive and was pivotal for the team. But he played only 125 games in the last three years due to multiple injuries.
Coming into this off-season, many expected Hayward to take the player option and stick around with the Celtics. But the 2016-17 All-Star had different plans and became an unrestricted free-agent.
The Indiana Pacers were reportedly the front-runners for the 30-year-old. But to everyone’s shock, the Charlotte Hornets signed Hayward in a 4-year deal worth $120 million.
When the Hornets drafted LaMelo Ball, it looked like the Hornets were going to build around the third pick of the 2020 draft. By bringing in Hayward, the Hornets did become a playoff contention team.
But given the 30-year-old’s injury record, giving him a 4-year guaranteed contract was the most shocking move this off-season.
Could signing Hayward might be the worst mistake by the Hornets?
This is not the first time the Hornets are overpaying a star. They had signed Nicolas Batum in a 5-year deal worth $120 million. Batum averaged a woeful 3.6 points, 3 assists and 4.5 rebounds per match.
Hayward is a much better player than Batum but the biggest concern is his injury record. In the last three years, he had missed 152 games for the Celtics.
In Hornets’ second pre-season game itself, Hayward suffered from a fractured finger. He is set to miss at least two months with the injury, the last thing the Hornets needed in a stacked calender.
Hayward is only a short-term fix and might not be helpful in an otherwise long-term project like the Hornets. In a very long time, the Hornets drafted a genuine star in the making in LaMelo Ball.
But giving an injury-prone star such a big contract sums up how the Hornets are run under Michael Jordan.
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