NBA Rumors: Latest on Gordon Hayward to Hornets, James Harden Trade Buzz, More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2020

NBA Rumors: Latest on Gordon Hayward to Hornets, James Harden Trade Buzz, More

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The 2020 edition of NBA free agency is in full swing, and the opening night of activity didn't disappoint. While there's still no resolution on Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers did make a big move by bringing in reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montezl Harrell.

    Joe Harris re-signed with the Brooklyn Nets, Justin Holiday re-signed with the Indiana Pacers and Christian Wood joined the Houston Rockets.

    While this year's free-agent class isn't a particularly star-studded group—aside from Davis, of course—some notable names remain available. With the trade market included, we could see some significant action in the coming days.

    Here, we'll examine some of the latest rumors from Day 2 of free agency.

Gordon Hayward Set to Join Charlotte Hornets

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    If we're assuming that Davis will eventually re-join the Lakers—which seems to be a matter of when, not if—then one could argue that former Boston Celtics standout Gordon Hayward is the biggest name on the open market.

    At least, he was. It appears that Hayward is now set to join the Charlotte Hornets.

    "Free agent Gordon Hayward is signing a 4-year, $120M deal with Charlotte, per source," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Saturday afternoon.

    This comes on the heels of a report from Marc Stein of the New York Times that Hayward's preferred destination was the Indiana Pacers. Per Stein, a deal with Indiana would have been in the four-year, $100 million range.

    Of course, joining the Pacers would have required Hayward to work out a sign-and-trade agreement with Boston—a deal the Celtics may not have been eager to make after Hayward opted out to enter free agency in the first place.

    If Wojnarowski is correct about the value of Hayward's contract, it seems he's getting a better deal than he would have in a sign-and-trade anyway. He'll now join rookie third-overall pick LaMelo Ball as a centerpiece of the new-look Hornets.

Rockets Not Rushing to Move Harden, Struggling to Deal Westbrook

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    With Hayward reportedly off the market and Davis likely to return to the Lakers, several teams will likely pursue trades to land their big-name talent. Two intriguing options are James Harden and Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets. Both players want out of Houston, though the Rockets are more eager to move Westbrook than Harden.

    In fact, the Rockets appear unwilling to move Harden without first lining up a deal for Westbrook.

    "The Rockets will engage on Westbrook but interest for the All-Star guard has been lukewarm, at best," Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix wrote. "...It’s unlikely Houston deals Harden without having a landing spot for Westbrook, which could prove exceedingly difficult."

    This is a potential problem because, per Mannix, teams have been "probing" about Harden but aren't particularly interested in Westbrook. Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Friday that the Rockets had discussed a deal with the Orlando Magic that would have involved Westbrook and forward Aaron Gordon.

    Per Haynes, talks "never progressed."

    It feels likely that Harden and Westbrook will be dealt at some point this offseason, but Houston doesn't appear interested in keeping Westbrook without Harden.

Caldwell-Pope Looking to Cash in

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Like Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope opted out of his deal with the Lakers for the 2020-21 season. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the two sides are interested in working out a new deal, but Caldwell-Pope is looking for a bump in pay.

    "Both the Lakers and free agent guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are interested in getting a deal done, but it is now a numbers’ game. KCP looking for raise from the $8.4 million he opted out from," Turner tweeted.

    Given that L.A. could have few financial options after re-signing Davis, giving Caldwell-Pope a raise could prove difficult. If the shooting guard is adamant about cashing in through free agency, he may have to consider other options.

    Caldwell-Pope should have those options. At least one other team appears interested in landing him, anyway. According to SNY's Ian Begley, teams believe that the New York Knicks are looking to add him.

    "Teams monitoring Kentavious Caldwell Pope's free agency expect New York to have interest, SNY has learned," Begley wrote.

    While a return to Los Angeles isn't impossible, it's highly unlikely that Caldwell-Pope will accept a team-friendly deal if he can get more significant offers on the open market.