In what has been a quiet free-agency period up to this point, the Charlotte Hornets work late into the night on Tuesday to reach a max deal with restricted free-agent SG Gordon Hayward. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer first reported the news that the agreement had been reached. The offer sheet is reported to be worth $63 million over a four-year span. According to numerous reports, the fourth year of the deal will be a player option for Gordon, and the contract will also include a trade kicker. These two aspects of the contract are what the Hornets hope scare the Utah Jazz away from matching for their restricted free-agent.
Due to the league moratorium period, Hayward cannot officially sign the offer sheet with the Hornets until Thursday. At that point, Utah will have three days to decide whether they will match the offer.
The general consensus all-along was that Charlotte would have to strike a sign-and-trade deal with Utah in order to lure him away from the Jazz, but I’ve said throughout the summer that the Hornets are a team loaded with young players, but not many valuable assets. That appears to illuminate with the reports that Charlotte didn’t even call Utah about a sign-and-trade, and instead aggressively agreed to terms on the max offer sheet with Hayward.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
“Several other teams had called Utah to inquire about the possibility of sign-and-trade deals if they signed Hayward to an offer sheet, but Charlotte never did, sources tell Yahoo Sports.”
Hayward averaged 16.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG & 5.2 APG last season in Utah. All of his numbers last season were career highs in every category, but the shooting numbers, especially from deep, were down. I’m of the opinion that Hayward took on such an increased role offensively last season, it definitely impacted the shooting efficiency. He fired the three-pointer at a rate of 30.4% (280 attempts) this past season, but 41.5% (246 attempts) in in ’12-’13. Quick thought: more set shots in ’12-’13. Think more of a floor-spacing role vs. one that had the offense run through him last season. Regardless of your opinion on the Hayward shooting regression last season, the kid is 24-years old and clearly wouldn’t be the number-one option in an offense that features Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, which should see those shooting numbers climb back up.