You can add another team to the Gordon Hayward free agency sweepstakes. On Friday, the July 4th holiday weekend was kicked off by the report that Hayward will be visiting the Charlotte Hornets on his tour to find a team for the next four years.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward will visit the Charlotte Hornets next week, the Observer has learned.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) July 4, 2014
This is fantastic news for the Hornets, who had a great draft and are still armed with roughly $15 million in cap space following their draft-day trade that sent Dwight Powell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who absorbed the remaining $2 million Charlotte owed to Brendan Haywood. It wasn’t a flashy move, but it was a savvy one that gives the Hornets a shot at landing Hayward.
As a highly-coveted free agent, it’s been reported Hayward, a restricted free agent, could possibly get a max offer from the Cavaliers, which would pretty much guarantee the Utah Jazz couldn’t/wouldn’t match it, which they previously vowed to do.
If Charlotte wants to offer Hayward a competitive offer sheet, it will likely have to be structured so that most of his salary comes in the latter three years so the team can fill out its roster for the upcoming season since a max offer for Hayward would take up virtually all of the Hornets’ remaining cap space.
From an Xs and Os standpoint, Hayward is just what the doctor ordered for a Charlotte team that made the playoffs last year as the Bobcats and is one key player away from contending in the East. Hayward, who averaged over 16 points, five assists and five rebounds in 2013-14, is a a 6-foot-8 natural-born scorer from the wing. Put simply, there is no more perfect description for the type of player the Hornets need at the shooting guard position.
The former Butler star would be a perfect fit in Charlotte and would make the Hornets a near-50-win team in the East. Fans in North Carolina should cross their fingers the Hornets’ brass makes a savvy, competitive offer to Hayward when he comes to visit.