Michael Jordan Called Gordon Hayward in Effort to Close Four-Year, $120M Deal With Hornets


Gordon Hayward has finally found a new home.

The former Celtics forward is signing a four-year, $120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports. 

At last, the Hornets get a player they've been targeting for years. Hayward signed an offer sheet with the team in 2014 as a restricted free agent; however, Utah matched the deal and kept Hayward. 

Hornets' owner Michael Jordan reportedly called him late Friday night to close the deal, Hayward told ESPN. It's evident that the 30-year-old remembers how Jordan and Charlotte signed him in restricted free agency in 2014.

Hayward's deal is fully guaranteed for all four seasons, according to The Athletic's David Aldridge.

The Celtics have lost two max contract players to free agency in the past two years—Kyrie Irving and now Hayward.

Coming into the free agency period, the Hornets roughly had $20 million in cap space. They were one of just four franchises below the $109 million cap.

The Charlotte Observer's Hornets beat writer Rick Bonnell reported, "the Hornets will waive guard-forward Nic Batum and use the NBA’s stretch provision to spread cap implications of Batum’s remaining $27 million over three seasons." 

Yahoo Sports's Keith Smith reported the Hornets would have to "work a [sign-and-trade] with Boston, trade away $7.5M in salary elsewhere and waive and stretch Nic Batum at about $9M a year for the next three years," in order to add Hayward.

Hayward had turned down a $34 million option to stay with Boston, and reportedly wanted to sign with the Pacers. The Athletic's Shams Charania said Hayward's desire to go back home and play in Indianapolis has only grown over the last couple weeks.

According to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, Hayward had already moved his family back to Indiana and even enrolled his daughters in school there.

Hayward, who joined Boston in the summer of 2017 on a four-year max contract, averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 52 games for the Celtics last season while shooting 50% from the field and 38% from three-point range.