Hayward reached an agreement earlier today to join the Hornets on a four-year, $120MM contract. Charlotte doesn’t have the cap room necessary to fit Hayward’s first-year salary in without making a corresponding roster move, so the team is reportedly planning to waive and stretch the final year of Nicolas Batum‘s contract, creating an extra $18MM in space.
Whether or not the Hornets intend to move forward with their plan to use the stretch provision on Batum, it makes sense to explore the possibility of a sign-and-trade.
Sending out enough salary to altogether avoid having to waive Batum would create future cap savings for Charlotte, though it’s not clear if acquiring a player like Terry Rozier or Cody Zeller would be of any interest to the Celtics after they reportedly reached deals with Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson tonight.
Even if the Celtics don’t get anything of substance back from Charlotte in exchange for Hayward, the ability to create a massive traded player exception worth the forward’s outgoing salary should appeal to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, as that exception could come in handy at some point over the next year. Boston may be willing to send the Hornets a small asset – such as a future second-round pick or cash – in order to create a sizeable TPE.
If the two sides don’t reach an agreement, Charlotte can simply move forward with its initial plan to waive and stretch Batum.