NBA Rumors: Why Hornets don't need Celtics to sign Gordon Hayward
Report: Why Hornets Don't Need a Token or Trade to Land Hayward originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Goodbye, Gordon Hayward. Hello ... nobody.
The veteran striker agreed to a four-year $ 120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday shortly after turning down his $ 34.2 million free agent option with the Boston Celtics.
The Hornets don't have enough space to directly sign Hayward, and some have wondered if they would sign a deal with Boston to free up the cap room and send some assets to the Celtics in return for Hayward.
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However, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, the Hornets plan to forego Nicolas Batum's wing and use the NBA's stretch provision to top his cap hit of $ 27.1 million for 2020-21 over the next three seasons distributing around $ 9 million a year.
The waiver of Batum will give the Hornets, who were already $ 20 million below the salary cap, enough money to sign Hayward without having to make a deal with the Celtics via Bonnell.
That's a big blow to the Celtics, who reportedly spoke to the Pacers about a sign and deal with Hayward and apparently had an offer from Indiana that included the great man Myles Turner and the wing Doug McDermott.
Now, Hayward is following in the footsteps of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford as the third Max Contract player to leave the Celtics in the past three years without receiving anything in return for Boston.
Hayward's departure will free up space for the Celtics, who now have the middle-level exception and two open roster slots after Enes Kanter's deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Hayward will be hard to replace, however, and Boston fans may not be comfortable here in the worst case scenario.
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