Report: Gordon Hayward’s contract is roadblock in potential Russell Westbrook deal for Terry Rozier

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier.

Rozier would be an exciting addition for Los Angeles and has emerged as a very productive guard in recent years.

However, it sounds like there’s a roadblock in the way of a potential Lakers deal for him: Gordon Hayward’s contract.

“The Lakers’ interest in Charlotte’s Terry Rozier as a potential headliner in a Russell Westbrook trade is not new,” wrote NBA insider Marc Stein. “You’ll recall that this Substack has been writing since April about L.A.’s fondness for the former [Boston] Celtic in potential Westbrook-centric trade discussions with Charlotte.

“The deterrent for the Lakers, since the idea of dealing Westbrook to the Hornets emerged as a concept months ago, has been concern stemming from the prospect of also absorbing Gordon Hayward’s contract, which has one guaranteed season left on it after this one at $31.5 million. Hayward was limited by injury to just 93 games in his first two seasons as a Hornet.”

Hayward can be a productive player when he’s healthy, but as Stein mentioned, the veteran has dealt with availability issues during his time with the Hornets. To his credit, he’s off to a solid start this season, averaging 18.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per contest through seven games.

The 32-year-old will make a little over $30 million this season and $31.5 million next season. That certainly wouldn’t be an ideal contract for the Lakers to take on.

As for Rozier, he has averaged 19.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game during his stint with Charlotte, which started back in the 2019-20 season. There’s no doubt that he’d bring a lot to the table for the Lakers.

While L.A. is surely still weighing all of its options, it seems like the team is starting to find ways to put Westbrook in the best possible position to succeed. He has come off the bench in two consecutive games, and it seems like that role is exactly what the doctor ordered for him.

The nine-time All-Star has averaged 18.0 points, 8.0 boards and 5.5 assists per game since being moved to the bench, and he has even knocked down 37.5 percent of his shots from beyond the arc during that span.

Westbrook has been giving the Lakers some major energy off the bench, and he was a major reason why the squad was able to get its first win of the season on Sunday.

The former MVP may still end up getting dealt before this season’s trade deadline, but it seems like he’s starting to find his footing after a rocky start to the campaign.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.