It’s official: Hornets announce acquisition of one player and release of another

By Richard Walker

The Charlotte Hornets made it official on Sunday that they had acquired Gordon Hayward and would be releasing Nicolas Batum.

A week after ESPN first reported the Hornets had signed Boston free agent Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract, the team announced it had acquired Hayward in a sign-and-trade deal with the Celtics. In addition to receiving Hayward, Charlotte receives unprotected 2023 and 2024 second-round picks from Boston while sending its unprotected 2022 second-round pick to the Celtics.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gordon and his family to the Hornets organization and Charlotte,” Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in a team news release. “Gordon is an NBA All-Star, a proven scorer and playmaker and a tough competitor that will fit well into the needs of our team. We believe that his basketball talent, NBA experience and veteran leadership will make a positive impact on our young, talented team as it continues to develop.”

A 10-year NBA veteran, the 6-foot-7 Hayward has career averages of 16.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 30.8 minutes per game in 641 regular season games (479 starts). He’s also a 45.1 percent career field goal shooter (36.6 percent on 3-pointers) and 82.3 percent free throw shooter. In 29 postseason games (16 starts) for the Utah Jazz and Celtics, Hayward averaged 15.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 33.0 minutes per game.

In the last three season with Boston, Hayward averaged 13.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 28.9 minutes per game. He also matched his regular season scoring high with 39 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 5, 2019.

With the Jazz, Hayward was chosen to play in the 2012 NBA Rising Stars Challenge and as a reserve for the 2017 Western Conference All-Star team.

Batum, whom Charlotte originally acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers for guard Gerald Henderson and forward Noah Vonleh on June 24, 2015, was officially waived after efforts to trade him away failed.

A 12-year NBA veteran, Batum averaged 12.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 32.2 minutes in 308 games (286 starts) for the Hornets the past five seasons. Batum ranks fifth in Charlotte franchise history in 3-pointers (496) and seventh in assists (1,521).

Batum was about to enter the final year of the five-year, $120 million free agent contact he signed to remain with the Hornets on July 7, 2016. Charlotte will still Batum $27.13 million for the 2020-21 season.