The Detroit Pistons have been identified as a "possible trading partner" with the Charlotte Hornets for forward Gordon Hayward.
ESPN's Jonathan Givony dropped that report amid an NBA mock draft blurb predicting Memphis big man Jalen Duren to the New York Knicks at No. 11.
"Detroit Pistons GM Troy Weaver is one of Duren's biggest fans in the NBA, sources say, and could very well look to target him in a draft night trade if he continued to slide down the board, especially to Charlotte, which has been identified as a possible trading partner for the Pistons in a potential Gordon Hayward deal."
Hayward, 32, averaged 15.9 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Hornets last year.
The 12-year NBA veteran has played for the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics and Hornets. He signed a four-year, $120 million contract in November 2020 as part of a sign-and-trade with the C's.
Rumors have circulated that the Hornets are looking to offload salary. ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t RealGM) said the Hornets are willing to attach a first-round pick (No. 13 or 15) along with a "salary in-house" to do just that. He specifically mentioned Hayward as a possibility.
Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer also mentioned Hayward when discussing a potential Hornets deal for Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook as well as the need to free up some money to ink Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball long-term.
"The Russell Westbrook interest that Marc Stein reported months back is real. Though Westbrook makes little sense as a player next to Ball, he does have an expiring contract and the Hornets could be dropping the bag for restricted free agent Miles Bridges, plus LaMelo Ball’s extension is around the corner. It's a good time to move some other long-term salary (e.g., Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier) for an expiring deal in Russ."
Hayward doesn't seem like a great for the rebuilding Pistons, who have a bunch of young talent that's far away from contending.
But the Pistons could stockpile more future draft capital with the move after adding a 2025 first-rounder in the deal with the Portland Trail Blazers that sent Jerami Grant to the Pacific Northwest.
Ultimately, a Hayward trade could work for both sides here. For now, the beginning of the NBA draft looms, with the festivities set to kick off Thursday at 8 p.m. ET from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.