We knew Gordon Hayward wasn’t going to be landed on a bargain, but likely no one could have imagined the contract the veteran forward found in free agency.
After opting out of the final year of his deal with the Boston Celtics, Hayward signed a reported four-year, $120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Passing up on $34 million for the upcoming season likely wasn’t an easy decision for Hayward, but the 11-year pro now has long-term security with lucrative yearly earnings to boot.
Countless folks on social media mocked and criticized the Hornets for signing Hayward to such an expensive contract. Kendrick Perkins got in on the action Monday during ESPN’s “The Jump.”
“Look, I’m all in for players getting their bread and getting their lettuce. But for the Hornets, this was a bad deal,” Perkins said. “We’re coming up on Thanksgiving and Michael Jordan is already thinking about Christmas. If he’s going to be this giving, I might have to retire from ESPN and go get back in shape because if he’s going to be giving out millions of dollars I’ll go out there and set picks and rebound if he’s just in the giving mood.
“Look, this type of signing is not good. I understand it’s hard to land free agents in a small market. But when you go out there and give $120 million to a guy that’s over 30, that’s getting up in age, to land a Gordon Hayward who’s not a No. 1 option guy, it could set your organization back in the future. I just think with an organization like the Hornets, you did well by drafting LaMelo Ball. You could continue to draft young guys and develop young guys and having great player development, not go out there and spend $120 million on aging Gordon Hayward, who hasn’t really been healthy.”
The Hornets evidently were the highest bidder for Hayward, but the Celtics’ offer might not have been terribly far off. According to ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe, Boston was willing to shell out somewhere between $105 million and $110 over a four-year deal for Hayward.
Hayward likely will have more opportunities to prove his worth in Charlotte than he did in Boston. Still, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Hornets eventually regret the investment.