Gordon Hayward stunned everyone by choosing to leave the Celtics and join the Charlotte Hornets on a staggering deal. He was a free-agent and thus made his independent decision as to where he wanted to play next.
But Hornets owner Michael Jordan certainly played a part in convincing the 30-year-old to come play for his team!
It is to be noted that the Hornets had tried to sign Hayward back in 2014 as well. MJ’s team offered a 4-year $63 million deal to the forward who was with the Utah Jazz back then.
However, he was a restricted free-agent which allowed the Jazz to match Charlotte’s offer and retain Hayward on their roster. As years passed, the Hornets had one eye on the explosive forward and they finally got what they wanted in 2020.
Not many players in the league have the spunk to decline an offer put forth by Michael Jordan. ‘His Airness’ wanted to sign Hayward way back in 2014, but a clause in his contract restricted him even though he wanted to play for the Charlotte Hornets.
“I came here and visited Charlotte and ended up signing an offer sheet that Michael gave me. That meant a lot to me,” reminisced Gordon Hayward about meeting Jordan in 2014.
“He’s wanted me for years now,” added Hayward about Jordan’s strong intentions about signing him. The Indianapolis native mentioned that he was “star-struck” when he got on a videoconference with the Bulls legend back in 2014.
Of course, MJ is one of the best to ever do it, and Hayward recognizes and respects that. After his failed meeting in 2014, Hayward continued to have more conversations with Michael Jordan and the team’s coaching staff, which eventually pushed him towards signing the deal.
“Let’s do this thing in Charlotte. Let’s just get this done,” Hayward told the reporters about what he said to his agent, who was working on sign-and-trade deals with a few teams in the league.
It took Charlotte 6 years to go out and capture what they wanted, but it is a success story in the end. Gordon Hayward has now signed a 4-year $120 million deal, almost twice the amount he was offered in 2014.
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