When Gordon Hayward declined his $34 million player option for the 2020-21 season, many saw it as a grave mistake for the star swingman, who has dealt with several injuries over the past few seasons.
But the reasoning became quickly apparent when he signed a 4-year, $120 million deal with the Hornets.
While his presence will, undoubtedly, make Charlotte a better team, many question why they were willing to go so high for a tier-B player with such an extensive injury history. On ESPN’s “The Jump” Kendrick Perkins went so far as to call out the team owner, Michael Jordan, for making a “franchise killing” move.
I get it, small markets gotta overpay but 30mm a year for a 30 year old off an injury that’s a number 2 guy at best is a franchise killer! Tell ole MJ since he’s in a giving mood, big Perk got 30 screens and 3 rebounds per game right now, sign me up! Carry on… pic.twitter.com/UnsOOLRl7G
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) November 23, 2020
Ads a small-market team, the Hornets are always going to be a team that struggles to acquire big-name free agents. In the case of Hayward, it’s likely he would not have even considered them had he not been offered such a large contract.
At 30-years-old, the 1x All-Star still has plenty left in the tank, and he’s a guy that makes an impact on both ends of the floor.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t yet returned to the peak form we saw in Utah. If the Hornets are to make a run for the playoffs this season, they’ll need both Hayward and rookie-star LaMelo Ball at their best.