Gordon Hayward has found himself linked with the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the summer, as a potential Russell Westbrook trade to the Charlotte Hornets has incrementally been floated around social media.
“Best trade for the Lakers is that Russ trade to the Hornets for Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, and Kelly Oubre. We need wing depth and shooting. Buddy Hield and Myles Turner don’t fix the wing depth issue and Turner is made of the same brand of glass as Anthony Day to Davis,” Twitter user ThatBlackPope tweeted.
Westbrook has been in poor form to start the new season, averaging 10.5 points, 3.5 assists, and seven rebounds per game on 30.4% shooting from the field, as the Lakers have fallen to back-to-back defeats in their opening games of the new season.
Those poor performances have led fans to begin discussing the fallen-superstars potential exit, and while nothing seems to be on the horizon, Westbrook’s days in Lakerland look all but numbered.
Hayward Makes Sense, When Healthy
Similarly to Anthony Davis, Hayward is an All-Star level talent when healthy, but over the past few seasons, his health has been fleeting. Frankly, Hayward, 32, has never fully recovered from the horrific leg break he suffered during his 2017 debut for the Boston Celtics.
However, the Indiana native has participated in both of the Hornets’ opening games, averaging 23 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 33.3% from deep and 66.7% from two-point range.
Furthermore, Hayward’s versatile skillset would wildly improve the Lakers’ rotation, from reducing ball-handling duties for LeBron James and Davis, to spacing the floor as a catch-and-shoot threat. On the defensive end, Hayward would also be a significant upgrade over Westbrook, both at the point-of-attack and when guarding opposing off-ball shooters or slashers.
LeBron Knows Lakers’ Don’t Have Shooters
Speaking to the media following the Lakers opening night loss against the Golden State Warriors, LeBron was open about his team’s shortcomings from deep, noting how opposing teams are choosing to sag off Los Angeles perimeter players to take away the drive.
“I mean, I don’t know. I think we’re getting great looks and I think there also could be some teams giving us great looks. To be completely honest, we’re not a team that’s constructed of great shooting. And that’s just what the truth of the matter is. It’s not like we’re sitting here with a bunch of lasers on our team. But that doesn’t deter us from still trying to get great shots. When you get those opportunities, you take them. But we’re not sitting here with a bunch of 40-plus [percent] career 3-point shooting guys,” James said on October 19.
Adding Hayward and PJ Washington would go a long way to resolving some of those shooting woes, while it would also remove the coaching staff’s headache at trying to figure out how to get the best from a flailing Westbrook. Still, as things stand, there doesn’t appear to be any potential trade in the pipeline, so the Lakers will need to find a winning formula sooner rather than later.