As one of the NBA’s most forgettable franchises, the Hornets have been starved for star power over the past few years.
Ever since Kemba Walker was traded away from the organization in 2019, Charlotte has been a ragtag group of two-way players and young talent. By drafting Lamelo Ball with the No. 3 pick and now signing Gordon Hayward on Saturday, the Hornets have added two household names to their roster.
Hayward became a free agent on Thursday when he declined his $32.4 million player option with the Celtics. Earlier on Saturday afternoon, the Boston forward signed a four-year, $120 million deal with the Hornets.
This is the richest contract Charlotte has signed since Walker’s four-year, $140 million. The second highest — believe it or not — was signed by Nicholas Batum.
The Hornets forward is one of the most notoriously overpaid players in the NBA. Batum signed a five-year, $120 million contract back in 2016.
With time still left on his contract, Batum still stands to make a good chunk of money.
The Hornets have decided to waive the forward to make cap space for Hayward. NBA insider Rick Bonnell reported the news on Twitter.
The Hornets will waive Nic Batum to create cap space to sign Gordon Hayward, reports @rick_bonnell.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
The Frenchman played well in his first few seasons in Charlotte, but has since fallen off. He’s a below average player at best making star-level money.
Batum has been plagued with injuries over the past few years, causing a huge hit to his production. In 2018-19, he averaged only 9.3 ppg and 3.3 apg through 75 games.
Some analysts worry this huge signing of Hayward could just be a repeat of the nightmarish contract the Hornets had with Batum. Hayward has also suffered significant dropoffs in production after struggling through injuries in recent years.
The big offseason moves made by Michael Jordan and the Hornets so far have both come with significant risks. The results of these gambles will either mark a change of momentum in Charlotte, or just more of the same.