The Charlotte Hornets are looking to upgrade their lineup a bit this offseason, and there are plenty of options out there on the free agent market. Charlotte has already been linked to both Luol Deng and Lance Stephenson, and Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward can be added to the list as well.
According to Rick Bonnell and Ben Weinrib of The Charlotte Observer, the Hornets are expected to make a run at Hayward, and they believe that he can add the much needed relief in scoring for Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker.
— KC (@kc1nyk) May 21, 2014
This is certainly interesting news for Charlotte, and it makes a lot of sense for both the team and Hayward. If Hayward was acquired from the Jazz, he would be able to slide into a supportive scoring role, and wouldn’t be asked to score quite as much by himself. He is a more than capable scorer, but he just doesn’t have the type of game that is needed to be a leading scorer for a team.
Hayward played in and started 77 games with the Jazz last season, averaging 16.2 points, 5.2 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game. Those numbers alone show just how important Hayward can be when he’s asked to put up big numbers, but he simply doesn’t have the game to be a 23-24 points per game scorer on a consistent basis. That being said, he would be a very nice number three option, and sometimes number two option depending on what type of game Walker is having on that night.
Overall, this would be a very wise move for the Hornets to make. They likely could acquire him for an affordable deal, and at just 24 years of age would have plenty of time to continue playing at a high level and improving. It will be interesting to see if more news comes out about this possibility as the offseason continues to draw closer.