Gordon Hayward Signs Contract, Traded to Hornets from Celtics for Draft Pick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2020

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in Washington. The Wizards won 99-94. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Charlotte Hornets announced they finalized a deal with the Boston Celtics to acquire Gordon Hayward from the Boston Celtics.

In addition to Hayward, the Hornets are getting second-round picks in 2023 and 2024 while sending a protected 2022 second-rounder to Boston.

The Celtics confirmed they're also getting a trade exception as part of the transaction.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Nov. 21 that Hayward had agreed to a four-year, $120 million contract with Charlotte. However, that didn't bring the matter to a close.

Wojnarowski followed up Wednesday to report the Hornets and Celtics were working on a sign-and-trade, which would've helped ease alleviate the impact Hayward's deal would have on Charlotte's payroll.

Unfortunately for general manager Mitch Kupchak, he was unable to find a taker for veteran swingman Nicolas Batum. The Hornets confirmed Sunday they waived Batum altogether, with the stretch provision spreading out the $27 million the Frenchman was due to earn in 2020-21.

Charlotte didn't walk away totally empty-handed since it got a pair of second-round picks along with Hayward from Boston.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Losing Hayward hurts the Celtics, but they now have avenue to acquire a player to take his place in the rotation. Even if they can't capitalize on the entirety of the almost $28 million in wiggle room at their disposal, they can swing a trade that nets them an established replacement.

The trade exception that the Golden State Warriors got from sending Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies proved invaluable as they were able to acquire Kelly Oubre Jr. in the wake of Klay Thompson's Achilles injury.

Of course, the onus is now on general manager Danny Ainge to get creative so that this massive exception doesn't go to waste for Boston.

Ainge doesn't have to rush since the exception won't expire until a full year after the sign-and-trade was executed. The Celtics could decide their roster is good enough as is for 2020-21 and head into the 2021 offseason with a better idea of potential trade targets.