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Gordon Hayward, formerly of the Boston Celtics with Al Horford and Marcus Morris Sr.

Getty Gordon Hayward, formerly of the Boston Celtics with Al Horford and Marcus Morris Sr.

During his tenure with the Boston Celtics, Gordon Hayward never really got a fair shake of things. Within minutes of making his Celtics debut, Hayward suffered a horrific leg injury that saw him miss an entire season, and ever since then, he has been one of the most injury-prone players in the NBA. And now, he could be looking for another change of scenery.

After the 2019-20 season that saw the Celtics lose in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat, Hayward’s contract was up. He declined to pick up his player option, instead opting to enter unrestricted free agency (kind of). While the Celtics and Indiana Pacers were seen as the most likely suitors, the Charlotte Hornets swooped in at the last second and inked the forward to a four-year, $120 million deal.

In two full seasons with the Hornets, Hayward has only appeared in 93 games. He has continuously been struck down with injuries, with the latest of the bunch preventing him from participating in the Play-In Tournament. Charlotte took on the Atlanta Hawks, and for the second year in a row saw their season end in the Play-In.

But before that game even happened, Jake Fischer, Bleacher Report’s NBA Insider, shared some eye-popping information about Hayward’s future with the Hornets. (H/T Kurt Helin, NBC Sports)

Hayward Interested in Trade From Hornets

According to Fischer, Hayward might be interested in a change of scenery this offseason. While he’s primarily concerned about recovering from his foot injury, the idea of an offseason trade is also on his mind:

Word has circulated amongst rival front offices that the 32-year-old swingman would be interested in a change of scenery this offseason, although a source close to Hayward told B/R he’s primarily focused on recovering from his injured foot. 

Hayward made a brief, one-game return on April 2 in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers after missing the previous 22 games. He would then proceed to miss the remainder of the season, including the Play-In game. In total, Hayward appeared in 49 games for the Hornets this season and only four since January 21.

With two years left on his deal after this season, the Hornets could have a hard time finding a suitor for Hayward. He’s set to make $30.1 million next year and $31.5 million the year after that. Offloading that contract will be no easy task, but according to reports, Charlotte could have some options.

Potential Hayward Trade to Lakers

According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, the Hornets are a potential suitor for Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook. In the April 7 edition of Stein’s newsletter, he detailed the possibility of a trade that would send Hayward and Terry Rozier to the Lakers in exchange for Westbrook.

The idea was met with a lot of uncertainty, as Westbrook and the Lakers just wrapped up an extremely disappointing season that saw them miss the playoffs entirely. However, for the Hornets, this trade would allow them to free up cap space a lot quicker.

Hayward is under contract through the 2023-24 season and Rozier is on the books through 2025-26. By trading for Westbrook, Charlotte would clear up a ton of cap space after next season, as the Lakers point guard only has one year left on his deal. This would allow them to fully commit to building around the young core of LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges.

So, does Hayward’s interest in a change of scenery actually bode well for the Hornets? Potentially. Hayward just can’t seem to keep his name off the injury report, and now the ex-Celtics forward could be on the move sooner rather than later.

Source: Heavy

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