NBA trade deadline: 5 teams that could sign Gordon Hayward as buyout buzz surrounds Hornets forward

Miami Heat v Charlotte Hornets
Teams are looking at Charlotte Hornets wing Gordon Hayward (left) as a buyout candidate. (Getty Images)

There is buzz surrounding the potential for Gordon Hayward to undergo a buyout with the Charlotte Hornets. While there are indications of trade possibilities for the 13-year veteran, teams are looking at him as an addition from the buyout market.

Gordon Hayward is on an expiring $31.5 million contract. He entered into a four-year, $120 million agreement with the Boston Celtics through a sign-and-trade in November 2020, which sent him to the Hornets.

Health has been the biggest concern about Hayward. In each of his first three seasons with the Hornets, he was unable to participate in more than 50 games.

This season, his fourth with Charlotte, he has played in 25 of 36 games, averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists. The Hornets are 13th in the Eastern Conference, and may explore moving Hayward if they remain near the bottom of the conference.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, Hayward is “absolutely for the taking.”

“Gordon Hayward is absolutely for the taking, that on an expiring contract has more likelihood than ever to get moved,” he said. “A lot of teams are also looking at Hayward as a buyout possibility.”

In the NBA, a buyout occurs when a team and a player mutually agree to part ways. After a buyout, the player is waived and can become a free agent. The buyout market is most active after the February trade deadline, as contenders look for a last chance to bolster their rosters.

As noted by RealGM, due to Gordon Hayward's salary exceeding the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception, teams above the tax apron—the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, LA Clippers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns—face restrictions in signing him. This rule was implemented with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

5 teams that could use Gordon Hayward

#1, Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers, despite being one of the youngest teams in the league, are in playoff contention. Adding a veteran with playoff experience and Hayeard's scoring ability can help them perform better in the postseason.

#2, Philadelphia 76ers

Adding another veteran wouldn’t hurt the championship-chasing Philadelphia 76ers. While his health is a red flag, Hayward can be a viable wing option that could be used in spurts.

#3, LA Lakers

The LA Lakers are already dealing with health concerns, but they could take a risk on Hayward, who has the potential to offer them dependable scoring.

#4, Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a weakness in wing scoring, and the addition of Hayward can help address these concerns.

#5, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly looking to add a scoring wing. If Hayward gets bought out, he could be a solid addition for the Western Conference-leading Wolves.

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