The Charlotte Hornets weren’t without competition in their pursuit of Gordon Hayward.
Hayward, who inked a four-year, $120 million contract after opting out of the final year of his Boston Celtics contract, revealed to The Athletic’s Sam Amick he considered at least four other teams before ultimately joining the Hornets in a sign-and-trade.
Those teams included the Celtics, with whom he spent the previous three seasons, as well as the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.
Here’s what Hayward told Amick regarding his free agency, via a piece published Friday:
Yeah, Atlanta was a team that I was really interested in. I think they’re another group of guys who are obviously young but extremely talented and you saw the additions that they added in the offseason. I think they’re a great basketball team. Clearly, Trae Young is an extremely talented player and somebody they’re going to rely on. So being able to play with him, and play with some of their other young players was really enticing, so they were in the mix. New York was in the mix — the Knicks. Indiana was another team that was really interested, and we had mutual interest for a while. Boston was — like, let’s not forget about Boston. I really wanted to go back to Boston too. There were just a lot of options and a lot of potential teams that I could go to, but I’d say those were the main ones. Atlanta, New York, Boston, Indiana, and then Charlotte obviously.
Hayward’s tenure with Boston will be remembered for his inability to stay on the court, a trend that began when he suffered a gruesome leg injury in his first regular-season game with the organization.
The former Utah Jazz All-Star showed promise when healthy last season, though, and the Hornets, among others, therefore felt comfortable handing the 30-year-old a lucrative contract.
Charlotte’s decision shocked many across the basketball world, but it certainly sounds like there was a robust market for Hayward, paving the way for him to leave Boston without meeting expectations in green.