Was This a Worthwhile Signing for the Charlotte Hornets?
The Charlotte Hornets announced recently that the team acquired forward Gordon Hayward, a 2023 and a 2024 second round pick from the Boston Celtics, in exchange for a protected 2022 second round pick. Big signing for Michael Jordan’s team, for sure, if they manage to bring Hayward back to top form and avoid further injuries, which have troubled the player greatly in the past few seasons.
Hayward is an NBA’s 10-year veteran already and has been one of the top “prospects” for years but hasn’t quite been able to take that leap that everyone’s been waiting for.
Coming out from Butler, where he played NCAA Basketball from 2008 to 2010, Hayward was selected by the Utah Jazz in the 2010 NBA Draft with the ninth overall pick. He had 7 very successful seasons in Utah, starting in 408 out of his 516 games played, averaging 31.3 minutes, and 15.3 points per game. His highest scoring season average in the Jazz was in his last season 2016-2017, with 21.9 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Three seasons of injuries for Hayward in Boston
That was a great year for him and that’s why the Boston Celtics acquired him for the 2017-2018 season, but sadly, Hayward suffered a devastating injury that changed the whole scenario.
On October 17th, 2017, in the season’s opening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hayward suffered a fractured tibia and a dislocated ankle right at the beginning of the game, less than 6 minutes into the season. He had a successful surgery, but was ruled out for the entire season, and then needed another surgery again in March of 2018.
He didn’t play another game until October 16th, 2018, the start of the next season, and slowly, he was able to get back in shape and get good numbers for the Celtics. He played 72 games that season, but his numbers went down considerably, to 11.5 points per game. In the 2019-2020 season he was still healthy and played 52 games, starting all of them, and averaging 17.5 points per game, until he suffered another in-game injury, a fractured left hand in a game against the San Antonio Spurs, that kept him out for exactly one month.
Then, on August 17th, 2020, in the Orlando bubble, Hayward suffered yet another serious injury, a grade 3 right ankle sprain, in the first round of the playoffs. He returned to action a little over a month after, to play in game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against Miami Heat, however, there was little he could do, and the team was eliminated in 6 games.
Charlotte Hornets are a new beginning for Gordon Hayward
Now, more than 3 years after he left Utah for Boston, and after 3 bad injuries, Hayward and the Hornets are hoping that the bad things stay in the past, and that he’s able to go back to his best numbers to be able to help the Hornets go back to the playoffs. That’s why they signed him to a 4-year contract for $120 million.
Do you think this is it? Is this the right player for the Hornets? Are the Hornets the right team for this excellent player to get his career back on track? Let’s hope so! It will be interesting to see how well Charlotte can do in the East this season, but most of all, we all want to see him healthy.