February 22, 2024

Thunder nearing trade for Hornets’ Gordon Hayward in exchange for Tre Mann, salaries: Sources

The Charlotte Hornets are nearing a deal to send forward Gordon Hayward to the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to league sources.

The Hornets are expected to acquire a package centered around Tre Mann, Dāvis Bertāns and salaries, league sources said. Mann, a 2021 first-round pick, has upside as a talented young guard.

Hayward leaves Charlotte after agreeing to a four-year, $120 million deal with the Hornets in 2020. The one-time All-Star has dealt with nagging injuries in each of the past five seasons, dating back to his time in Boston.

The 6-foot-7 forward, who turns 34 in March, is averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game and shooting 46.8 percent from the field in 25 games this season.

The Hornets have not made the playoffs since Hayward arrived and have produced just one winning season since 2016.

In 2023-24, Charlotte has slumped to its worst winning percentage since 2011-12 as All-Star guard Lamelo Ball has dealt with injuries and the team’s defensive rating has plummeted. That 2011-12 team, then known as the Bobcats, finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history.

What role could Hayward fill on a winning team?

Hayward has been a useful secondary playmaker on offense this season while rarely turning the ball over. After struggling early, his shooting has improved — he made 50.3 percent of his field goals, 39.4 percent of his 3s and 81 percent of his free throws in the 14 games before a recent calf injury.

Teams had some interest in acquiring a well-rounded offensive player like him who can play on or off the ball, as he fits exceedingly well in a variety of places.

Sam Vecenie, NBA senior writer

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(Photo: Dylan Buell / Getty Images)