Gordon Hayward was set to become one of the most sought-after commodities during the free agency frenzy this year, as the Celtics forward had a $34.1 million player option with Boston for the coming season, but decided to opt out to become an unrestricted free agent.
He’s drawn interest from a number of teams in recent days, although the Knicks, one of the reported suitors, were said to be less likely of a destination after using their picks on Draft night. According to multiple reports, Hayward had indicated that he’d prefer to end up with the Pacers, which would require some finagling via a sign-and-trade to make the deal happen.
But ultimately, that plan did not come to fruition, because a surprising team dropped the whole bag, instead. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Charlotte Hornets decided to give Hayward a four-year deal worth $120 million, and he’s decided to accept.
Free agent Gordon Hayward is signing a 4-year, $120M deal with Charlotte, per source.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn)
Teams like the Knicks and Hawks had the cap space to sign Hayward, but ultimately, it was the Hornets that swooped in and made a deal happen. Hayward has struggled to stay healthy during his time with the Celtics, and the hope is that a change of scenery might help rejuvenate a player who has yet to regain his former All-Star form.