Gordon Hayward’s role with the Boston Celtics was minimized due to the emergence of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the wings. The slashed role pushed the 30-year-old to sign a four-year, $120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets this offseason.
On Tuesday, Hayward discussed the move from Boston to Charlotte, indicating that he wanted the opportunity to start over.
“I wanted a fresh start. I wanted a place where I could try to maximize who I was as a basketball player,” Hayward told The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell.
“No one ever has anything bad to say about Charlotte. That made me feel really good and my wife feel good, too,” Hayward continued.
When he signed with the Celtics, Hayward was expected to flourish under his former college head coach in Brad Stevens. Various injuries derailed his tenure in Boston, which allowed Tatum and Brown to blossom as threats on the wings, moving Hayward down the depth chart.
In Charlotte, Hayward has the opportunity to shine among a young supporting cast that includes LaMelo Ball, P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges and Devonte Graham. Although he fractured his finger during training camp, the 10-year veteran is expected to make his Hornets’ debut on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Last season with the Celtics, Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 4.1 assists and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field and 38.3% from deep. Those numbers could improve during the 2020-21 campaign.