“I don’t think he is a guy you have to give up a first-rounder for,” the NBA executive told Heavy Sports. “And that’s what they need. Someone who’s gonna help but not mortgage the future. It’s a desperate move but, so what? Look at their record.”
Hayward is in his fourth season playing for the Hornets and has also spent time with the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics during his NBA career. In 25 appearances with the Hornets so far during the 2023-24 regular season, he is averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 46.8 percent from the floor and 36.1 percent from 3-point range.
The 33-year-old has been sidelined since the team’s Dec. 26 game against the Los Angeles Clippers due to a calf injury. In 24 minutes of action against the Clippers, he dropped eight points, two rebounds, five assists and one steal in a game the Hornets went on to lose by nine points.
The forward has had a hard time staying healthy ever since he joined the Hornets ahead of the 2020-21 season. He appeared in 50 games with Charlotte during the 2022-23 regular season, but that’s the most games he’s played in a single season with the team.
The Hornets have been one of the worst teams in the entire league so far this season. At 8-24, the team owns the 13th-best record in the Eastern Conference and has won just one of their last 10 games.
Charlotte just recently snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday thanks to a great scoring performance from guard Terry Rozier. Rozier scored a team-high 34 points for the Hornets while shooting 13-of-24 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. He also contributed six assists and three rebounds.
Despite Hayward’s lengthy injury history, his versatile skill set indicates that it might make sense for the Lakers to target him via trade.
The Lakers will attempt to get above the .500 mark when they take on the Miami Heat at home on Wednesday. Miami sits as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference at 19-14 and lost its most recent game against the Clippers by 17 points on Jan. 1.