Miles Bridges is going to attract maximum (or near maximum) contract offers. The Hornets can offer a five-year contract worth up to $173 but are reportedly hesitant to do so. Other teams could offer four years, $131 million.
Charlotte owners are reportedly wary of imposing a luxury tax to give Bridges that much money.
Gordon Hayward will earn $30.1 million next season (and $31.5 million next season).
It’s not hard to connect the dots with the Hayward deal, but Brian Windhorst of ESPN announced on air that the Hornets are willing to pin one of their first-round picks – No. 13 or No. 15 – to any team that receives Hayward’s salary (Real GM hat tip).
Hayward is not an empty paycheck, he averaged 15.9 points per game and shot 39.1% from 3 when he was healthy enough to play last season. Injuries are a concern, he hasn’t played more than 52 games in each of the previous three seasons.
There were rumors about Hayward with the Pacers, possibly for Miles Turner.
However, the most interesting rumor comes from Kevin O’Conner of Ringer as well as Mark Stein of Substack who said that the Hornets are interested in Russell Westbrook — not as a player, but because while he will make $47 million this season (after he chooses the player option), this is the last year of his contract. Hayward has two years on a $61.5 million contract. Terry RozierA four-year, $96 million contract extension is about to go into effect – Charlotte would like to trade Rosier and Hayward to end their contracts and take Westbrook on a shorter term. The Lakers, however, are going to clean up their records and don’t want those two longer contracts. Theoretically, this could become a three-way deal with Kyrie Irving A move to the Lakers is, again, a wild prospect (like any Westbrook trade) and Irving will most likely re-sign in Brooklyn.
Ultimately, the Hornets have to pay Bridges — he averaged 20.2 points and 7 rebounds per game on the wing last season, plays good defense, and is only 24, and he continues to improve. If you do not keep such a player – or PJ Washington – go near Lamelo Ballthen you are doing it wrong.
Expect the Hornets to be an active team on Thursday in the NBA draft as Windhorst revealed few people expect them to use both of their first-round picks. One will be in motion.