It’s been a busy week for the Charlotte Hornets along with the rest of the NBA. The NBA draft took place and the Michael Jordan owned team picked LaMelo Ball. Using their 2nd pick on a point guard, now they’ve acquired a forward.
According to WEII news, Gordon Hayward has opted out of his contract extension with Boston to sign with Charlotte. After a short-lived and underperforming life in Boston, the former Butler player is now under a new program. Losing a starting forward means a few things for Boston.
Bigger Role For Marcus Smart
After a breakout performance in the playoffs, this year could be Marcus Smart’s statement year. The 26-year-old came up big in the Toronto series and has shown his leadership. When Hayward was out, it was Smart who picked up the play on both sides of the court. Because with Hayward gone, his role will become even larger.
Smart will most likely still come off the bench behind Kemba Walker. However, because he’s able to guard multiple positions on the floor, don’t be surprised to see him play more. His minutes could reach up to the low 30’s on a nightly basis. Given that he works on his offensive game this offseason, he could have the potential to get a bigger contract.
Time For Tatum To Step Up
Although their appearance at the eastern conference finals was a rewarding one, they didn’t win it all. The biggest question for the C’s has always been what could get them over the hump. And with a key component heading to the Charlotte Hornets, it’s time for a superstar to arise. That star would be Jayson Tatum.
Tatum averaged 23.4 points and 7 rebounds last season. As a result, he’ll need to improve those numbers if they want to get passed, teams. Miami, Milwaukee, and Brooklyn have gotten immensely better if not stayed at the same elite level. As for the Celtics, they lost a guy who was bringing in close to 20 points a game. Those points will need to come somewhere. And hopefully, it'll be from Tatum.
With The Charlotte Hornets Getting Better Expect A Move Soon From Ainge
The issue with Boston the entire season was their frontcourt. Removing the 6’7 forward from the team didn’t solve that issue. Now Danny Ainge has to worry about making his team bigger and perhaps more athletic. And after drafting two guards who play the wing, expect this free agency period to pick up for the C’s.
According to boston.com, the Celtics signed Center Tristan Thompson to a 2-year $19 million deal. This may solve one or two issues in the size department. However, the Celtics will need a little more if they want to fill in the flaws that kept them from the finals.
It was probably best for both parties that Hayward split ways. The veteran has missed 111 regular season and 31 playoff games. He's been injury-prone in Boston. Perhaps a new place would suit him best.