On November 29, 2020, the Charlotte Hornets reached a sign and trade agreement with Boston to acquire Gordon Hayward after a 30-year-old forward declined his $34.2 million player option. Hayward then agreed to a four-year, $120 million deal with the Hornets – a move that left everyone wondering the same thing – what the hell was Michael Jordan thinking?
Had heard Gordon wanted out for a long time but it was always assumed he’d take less for an average annual salary than the $34m option.— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) November 21, 2020
CHA basically kept him close to the option and added three years. CHA just signed one of the worst contracts of free agency.
I know I said on the air that someone would overpay for Hayward, but 4 years $120 million is certifiably insane.— Toucher and Rich (@Toucherandrich) November 21, 2020
CRAZY to pay Gordon Hayward 30 million a year for the next four years.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 21, 2020
Michael Jordan. The GOAT as a player, but man is he bad as an owner.
Danny Ainge to MJ right now pic.twitter.com/2PqKwEZT6T— Scott Maxwell (@SilvahHammah) November 21, 2020
At that moment, the deal looked like a head-scratcher for the Hornets, especially considering several significant injuries a 30-year-old suffered during his tenure in Boston. However, 11 games into the 20/21 NBA season, you got to give it to MJ. He might’ve been right all along.
Hayward is averaging 22.5 PPG (career-high), 5.2 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, and 0.4 BPG on .503/.404./.932 shooting splits. He’s fit perfectly into the offensive system implemented by head coach James Borrego and has imposed himself as the team’s No.1 option (25.4 USG%). The upstroke – no single-digit scoring performances, multiple 20+ points outings, and career-high 44 points against the Hawks, leading the Hornets to a threshold that hasn’t been reached since ’19.
It’s a small sample size, and teams-success-wise, the season has been anything but ordinary. However, credit needs to be given to both the Charlotte Hornets and Gordon Hayward. After years of being at the bottom of the league, the team is finally playing competitive basketball, and it’s mostly due to Hayward, who is slowly making a case for himself for being one of the biggest steals of the ’20 free-agency after people declared his deal with Charlotte one of the worst in the association.
Kudos to Michael Jordan. Drafting LaMelo Ball and acquiring Hayward is paying dividends 11 games into the season. Perhaps he’s also found the way to turn things around. It’s about damn time!