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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

Gordon Hayward drawing interest from 1 notable team?

Gordon Hayward ready to shoot

Photo: Dec 18, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) warms up before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Gordon Hayward spends most of his time these days modeling street clothes, but one at least prominent team thinks that he can still be a difference-maker.

Sean Deveney of Heavy.com spoke to an unnamed NBA executive this week who indicated that Hayward could be a Plan B for the Miami Heat if their trade pursuits of Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell fail.

“I think a guy they will keep an eye on is Gordon Hayward,” the executive reportedly said of the Heat. “It’s a short-term move for Miami, but they need to make their move now. You can play him at the 3 and go big or go small at the 4. He’s a guy they’ve had interest in before.”

Hayward, who is now 32, has been surprisingly productive for the Charlotte Hornets when on the court. He holds averages of 17.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game in the last two seasons. Hayward’s shooting splits over that span are also a pristine 47/40/84.

But Hayward has an injury history that would make Wile E. Coyote wince. In addition to the devastating leg injury he suffered in 2017, Hayward has missed 61 games in the last two years with various ailments. Furthermore, Hayward is owed nearly $62 million over the next two seasons, a virtually prohibitive amount for a player with that kind of injury risk.

Still, Miami has a contract they too would like to shed in Duncan Robinson’s four years and guaranteed $64 million remaining. If the Heat can add other enticements such as Omer Yurtseven, rookie Nikola Jovic, and/or draft pick compensation, a swap with the Hornets for Hayward might have some real sea legs. Miami is looking to make up for the departure of PJ Tucker in free agency, and Hayward, though he has a different skillset, is a younger and more versatile option than this other recently reported Heat target.

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