The Dallas Mavericks are currently 8-6 on the season and sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference. With Luka Doncic at the helm, they should be able to keep themselves in contention for years to come. But if they want to make a push toward a title, they may have to consider making trades.
According to sources who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, one player who they could potentially target is Gordon Hayward of the Charlotte Hornets.
“Hayward (currently out with a shoulder injury) is a gamble because it’s been five years since he was actually healthy,” an Eastern Conference GM told Deveney. “But he’s only got one year after this one (at $31.5 million), and there are teams that probably need to take a gamble if they’re going to win a title—Dallas is one, and Miami. He’d be a good fit in Milwaukee or Phoenix, too, even New York. He has some versatility to his game. But again, can he stay on the floor? Is he worth the risk?”
So far this season, Hayward has appeared in eight of the Hornets’ 16 games, playing 31.0 minutes per contest. He has averaged 17.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.1 assists on 47.2% shooting from the field and 35.7% shooting from behind the three-point line.
Hornets Could Host Fire Sale
The Hornets are just 4-12 on the season, as they’ve dealt with multiple injuries and absences. Plus, a lot of Eastern Conference teams have improved around them.
In turn, the Hornets could consider hosting a fire sale of sorts, but the biggest challenge would be getting owner Michael Jordan to go along with that plan.
“The hurdle is getting the owner to go along with it,” the GM told Deveney. “It is Michael Jordan. He has never OK’d something like that and it is not clear he would, even if it gets bad this year, even if it puts them in a good spot in the draft for Victor (Wembanyama). He has been pretty strong against tanking. Hard to see another way forward for them now, though.”
Hayward is under contract for this season and next year for roughly $30.1 million and $31.5 million, respectively. Ditching his contract would give the Hornets a lot more flexibility moving forward.
Potential Hayward-Mavericks Trade
The real question is, what would the Mavericks give up to get Hayward? They have some first-round picks, but if the Hornets are seeling him for cheap, they could get away with giving up mere seconds for Hayward, especially considering how bloated his contract is.
Unfortunately, they don’t have many expiring contracts to give the Hornets. The only expiring deals worth noting are Christian Wood’s and Dwight Powell’s. Dallas seems unlikely to trade Wood, and Powell’s deal wouldn’t be enough to match Hayward’s.
A package of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Powell would make the salaries work, but Charlotte would probably want a first-round pick in exchange for taking on Hardaway’s money.
That being said, adding Hayward to the rotation would provide the Mavericks with a serious boost at the wing position, as well as an extra ball-handler rand playmaker to play alongside Doncic.