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Gordon Hayward ‘disappointed’ in lack of opportunity with Thunder

Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward was candid with the Thunder media regarding his abbreviated stint with Oklahoma City during his exit interview Sunday. (Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)

Gordon Hayward ‘disappointed’ in lack of opportunity with Thunder

The biggest move that the Oklahoma City Thunder made during the 2023-24 NBA Trade deadline was acquiring forward Gordon Hayward from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Davis Bertans and Tre Mann.

It looked like a fairly one-sided move at the time, but Hayward, 34, didn’t quite live up to expectations. During his exit interviews on Sunday, Hayward discussed how his reduced role with the Thunder wasn’t what he wanted it to be.

“Obviously disappointing with kind of how it all worked out,” he said, according to Thunder beat writer Rylan Stitles of Inside The Thunder. “This is not what I thought it would be. Certainly frustrating. But kind of it is what it is. … I feel like as a player I have a lot to offer. I just wasn’t given much of an opportunity to do that.”

He appeared in 26 games with the Thunder, averaging 5.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in just 17.2 minutes per game, a far cry from the 31.9 minutes he averaged in 25 games in Charlotte. He did not score a single point in seven postseason games, attempting just three shots in 46 minutes.

Hayward was expected to provide some supplementary scoring off the bench and possibly give head coach Mark Daigneault more juice in the fourth quarter other than Josh Giddey. But that was clearly not the case, as his impact felt minimal.

The now-14-year veteran will enter unrestricted free agency for the first time in four seasons after signing a four-year, $120 million deal with Charlotte as part of a sign-and-trade ahead of 2020-21.

Hayward played in roughly 61.2 percent of his team’s regular season games over the last four seasons, so he will likely get a small fraction of his previous contract. The biggest question is: Who will be bidding for his services at this stage of his career, and for how much?

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