In a surprising move that sent shockwaves through the NBA community, the Oklahoma City Thunder recently acquired Gordon Hayward from the Charlotte Hornets. This trade has raised questions about Hayward’s future and the strategic decisions made by both teams.
Gordon Hayward Injury Update
The Oklahoma City Thunder secured Gordon Hayward in exchange for guard Tre Mann, forward Davis Bertans, point guard Vasilije Micic, and second-round draft picks in 2024 and 2025. The deal became official late Thursday night, marking a significant move for both franchises.
Hayward’s Stint with the Hornets
Hayward, who signed a lucrative four-year, $120 million contract with the Hornets in 2020, was expected to be a key player in the team’s journey to become a consistent playoff contender. However, injuries plagued his time in Charlotte, with Hayward missing 43% of the team’s games since his arrival, including half of the current season’s contests. This has undoubtedly contributed to the Hornets’ struggles, currently holding a disappointing 10-40 record.
What Happened to Gordon Hayward?
Despite the challenges, Hayward has displayed his skills, averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 25 games this season. His shooting percentage from beyond the arc stands at 36.1%, showcasing his versatility on the court. If Hayward can recover from his left calf strain, he could prove to be a valuable asset for the Thunder, currently boasting one of the best records in the Western Conference at 35-16.
Hornets’ Rebuilding Efforts
The trade involving Hayward is just one part of the Hornets’ rebuilding strategy. In addition to Hayward, the team traded P.J. Washington to the Dallas Mavericks for Grant Williams, Seth Curry, and a 2027 first-round draft pick.
This follows previous moves, including unloading Terry Rozier to the Miami Heat for Kyle Lowry and a future conditional first-round draft pick. The Hornets seem committed to reshaping their roster and creating a foundation for future success.
Future of Tre Mann, Davis Bertans, and Vasilije Micic
The trade brings promising players to the Hornets, with guard Tre Mann, forward Davis Bertans, and point guard Vasilije Micic joining the Charlotte roster. Tre Mann, the 18th overall pick in the 2021 draft, has shown potential as a scorer, with notable performances in his rookie season.
Davis Bertans, known for his sharpshooting, could provide valuable three-point shooting for the Hornets. Vasilije Micic, an outstanding passer, adds depth to the team’s playmaking capabilities.
Mitch Kupchak’s Vision
Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak had previously hinted at the possibility of more trades before the deadline, emphasizing the team’s commitment to reshaping its roster. The recent deals, including the Hayward trade, align with Kupchak’s vision for the Hornets’ future competitiveness.
Notably, the Hornets did not trade Miles Bridges, who has been a standout performer with impressive point totals in recent games. Bridges, with a no-trade clause in his contract, remains a vital part of the team’s plans at least through the end of this season.
As an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Hornets hold his Bird rights, allowing them to exceed the salary cap to secure him on a maximum-salary deal if they choose to do so.