Gordon Hayward has agreed in principle to a four year 63 million dollar contract with the Charlotte Hornets. The contract is the maximum for Hayward, and also contains a player option for the fourth year.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan said they would be able to make a big difference in free agency this year. The Hayward signing is just that. He is added to a roster that went 43-39 and lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Hornets were one of the best defenses in the league, but lacked much offense outside of Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker. Hayward is the perfect fix for them, and makes Charlotte’s young core considerably more dangerous in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets gained valuable experience for their young roster in last years playoffs, and look to improve on last season’s successes. Hayward has already played with their dominant big man, Al Jefferson, which should provide good chemistry right off the bat.
The Utah Jazz, Hayward’s current team, has already extended a qualifying offer to him, which means they have the option to match any contract he is offered. They have given every indication up until this point that they will match nearly any offer. Many speculated that Hayward would receive the maximum deal, so in all likelihood we will not be seeing him in a Hornets uniform.
Hayward, who is still only 23, averaged 16.2 points on 41.3% shooting, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game last season. He is a player the Jazz are trying to build around, but with the Hornets opening their checkbooks they could potentially lose him. If the Jazz do not match, he makes an already playoff team in Charlotte, that much more dangerous.
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