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How MJ played a role in Hayward choosing Hornets

/ by Darren Hartwell
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Where did the Hornets come from?

That's what many were wondering when news broke that Gordon Hayward had agreed to a four-year, $120 million contract with Charlotte in free agency despite the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks appearing to be his top two suitors.

So, why did the former Boston Celtics forward choose the Hornets in free agency after declining his $34.2 million player option?

Hayward addresses C's fans, reacts to joining Hornets

A phone call from NBA legend and Hornets owner Michael Jordan may have helped sway him, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe.

Indiana reportedly was Hayward's preferred destination over New York, which was offering less money than the Pacers. But it sounds like the Hornets blew both teams out of the water, and it's hard to blame Hayward for showing interest in Charlotte after the GOAT called him offering $120 million in fully guaranteed money.

Hayward to the Hornets is a tough blow for the Celtics, who could have worked out a sign-and-trade with Indiana but instead get nothing in return for the 30-year-old veteran.

The C's reportedly had an offer from the Pacers in a potential sign-and-trade involving Hayward, but it appears the two sides couldn't come to an agreement.

The Athletic's Scott Agness shared some insight into those negotiations that doesn't exactly reflect well on Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

 

It's unclear when Jordan and the Hornets first reached out to Hayward, but if the C's and Pacers were able to work out a sign-and-trade before MJ made his final pitch Friday night, perhaps things would have gone down differently.

Instead, the Celtics will be tasked with filling Hayward's void using the mid-level exception to sign a player on the dwindling free agent market