KEY POINTS

  • Gordon Hayward's gamble of opting out with Celtics pays off
  • Hayward secures long-term deal and big money with Hornets
  • The Hornets are hoping Hayward's health holds up

Gordon Hayward can now heave a sigh of relief. After choosing not to pick up the player option with the Boston Celtics, the 30-year-old forward was able to close a deal with the Charlotte Hornets.

The All-Star forward is set to sign a four-year, $120 million deal with the Hornets, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported, citing unnamed sources. Passing up the $34 million deal with the Celtics has now been justified, and Hayward also secured his financial needs for the next four years.

Hayward joins his third team since entering the league in 2010. His best years were undoubtedly with the Utah Jazz, and his Boston Celtics run was marred by a lot of obstacles. That includes suffering a broken leg right in his very first year with the Celtics in 2017.

Since then, Hayward has been incurring injuries one after the other. He was never able to blend in with the Celtics and most knew that he was likely to move out. The only question then was which team.

As mentioned in a previous report, Hayward was linked to the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks. Both teams needed a superstar to help their young core. The Indiana Pacers were also mentioned, something that would have been a homecoming for Hayward.

But in the end, it was the Hornets that beat other teams to Hayward and it will be interesting if he can make a difference for Buzz City. For as long as he can keep himself healthy, the 9th overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft could provide the Hornets with a big lift this 2020-21 NBA season.

Last season, Gordon played 52 regular-season games and averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He shot 55.4% from the field and 38.3% from the three-point region.

If Howard can recall the same form he showed during the 2016-17 season he had with the Jazz, Charlotte could be one of the sleepers this coming season. Hayward will also be reunited with former teammate Terry Rozier.

Rozier played for the Celtics from 2015 to 2019 before he was traded in July last year as part of a sign-and-trade deal that involved Kemba Walker.

Hayward is expected to be the leader for the Hornets, which recently got LaMelo Ball from the 2020 NBA Draft. Other promising players in the mix include Devonte Graham, Miles Bridges and PJ Washington. Will the gamble on Hayward pan out? Probably, but team owner Michael Jordan may be more concerned about how well Hayward keeps himself away from injuries.

Gordon Hayward Boston Celtics Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden on March 01, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images