In what seems like a never-ending quest to field a healthy lineup, the Minnesota Timberwolves signed small forward Lazar Hayward on Monday. Terms of the deal are unknown, but the team had Hayward in for a workout last week prior to his being acquired by the Los Angeles D-Defenders of the NBA’s developmental league.
The Timberwolves are fairly familiar with Hayward, as they acquired him from the Washington Wizards on draft night in 2010 after he was selected 30th overall. But he did not play much for Minnesota during the 2010-2011 season, seeing action in just 42 games and averaging 3.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game over just 10 minutes per game.
Hayward was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder prior to last season and he saw even less action there, playing just 26 regular season games while averaging 1.4 points per game. The Thunder sent him to the Houston Rockets in the James Harden trade just prior to the start of this season, but he never played a game for Houston as they waived him a few days later.
It’s hard to figure how capable a player Hayward is, since he has seen such scant playing time to this point in his pro career. He was a capable scorer in college at Marquette, culminating in his averaging 18.1 points per game during the 2009-2010 season, so he could possibly offer some scoring punch as a part-time player for the Timberwolves. He can at least fill a few minutes per game at small forward as they try to keep starter Andrei Kirilenko off their list of players that have missed significant time this season. That alone may end up being Hayward’s greatest contribution, even if he is ultimately only a stopgap until Chase Budinger (knee) is able to return to action.