Hornets send Gordon Hayward to Thunder for 3 players, 2 second-round draft picks, AP source says

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Hornets are sending often-injured small forward Gordon Hayward to the Oklahoma City Thunder for guard Tre Mann, forward Davis Bertans, point guard Vasilije Micic and second-round draft picks in 2024 and 2025, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the deal had not yet been approved by the league.

The Hornets signed Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract in 2020 hoping he would help them become a consistent playoff team. But that hasn’t happened as Charlotte is headed toward an eighth straight season without a trip to the postseason, the longest current streak in the NBA.

Hayward’s injuries have contributed to that.

He has missed 43% of Charlotte’s games (128 of 296) since his arrival, including half of this year’s contests. The Hornets are 10-40 entering Friday night’s game at Milwaukee.

If Hayward is able to return from a left calf strain, he could help the Thunder, who entered Thursday’s games tied with Minnesota and Denver for the best record in the Western Conference (35-16).

Hayward, who turns 34 in March, has averaged 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 25 games this season while shooting 36.1% from 3-point range. He’s averaged 15.5 points over his 14-year career.

Meanwhile, the Hornets continue to clean house in a rebuild.

Also Thursday, Charlotte traded P.J. Washington to the Dallas Mavericks for Grant Williams, Seth Curry and a 2027 first-round draft pick. And the team has decided to waive 2021 first-round draft pick James Bouknight, according to the same person who confirmed the Hayward deal. Bouknight was the No. 11 overall pick who played in just 79 games in three seasons.

The Hornets already unloaded Terry Rozier to the Miami Heat in exchange for Kyle Lowry and a future conditional first-round draft pick earlier this month. Lowry has not played for the Hornets and is expected to take a buyout.

Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said last month that Charlotte would be interested in moving more players before the deadline as the team looks to reshape its roster, and it did just that in dealing Washington and Hayward.

However, ESPN reported that Miles Bridges has a no-trade clause and will not approve any trades. That means Bridges, who scored 41 points on Monday and 45 on Wednesday, will remain with Charlotte at least through the end of this season.

Bridges becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Hornets own his Bird rights, which would allow them to exceed the salary cap by signing him to a maximum-salary deal.

The Thunder selected Mann with the 18th overall pick in the 2021 draft. He was a crowd favorite but his playing time was reduced as the team added better players. He started 26 games as a rookie in 2021-22, when he averaged 10.4 points a game. That year, he scored 30 points in a win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden and scored a career-high 35 points in a loss to Boston. He has started five games since that season.

The Thunder acquired Bertans from the Dallas Mavericks in a draft-night deal last year, and he has played sparingly. He’s a career 39.8% 3-point shooter in eight seasons.

Oklahoma City acquired the rights to Micic from Philadelphia in 2020. The Thunder brought him from Europe and signed him in 2023. The Serb is an outstanding passer who is averaging 3.3 points and 2.5 assists in 12 minutes per game this season.


AP Sports Writer Cliff Brunt in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.


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