Report: Hornets stretching Nicolas Batum to sign Gordon Hayward

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward and Hornets forward Nicolas Batum
Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

The Hornets are signing Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract.

How will Charlotte open sufficient cap space?

Not a sign-and-trade with the Celtics for Terry Rozier or Cody Zeller, as seemed possible.

Instead, the Hornets will stretch Nicolas Batum.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

In order to have the salary-cap room to sign Hayward, the Hornets will waive guard-forward Nic Batum and use the NBA’s stretch provision to spread cap implications of Batum’s remaining $27 million over three seasons, an NBA source confirmed to The Observer.

Batum will count $9,043,478 against Charlotte’s cap each of the next three years. That’s a high price to pay Hayward a high price.

Effectively, that means the Hornets are devoting about $38 million of cap space to Hayward each of the next three years.

At least Charlotte will get a break in year four, when Batum’s cap hit is off the books and Hayward is due just about $32 million at age 33.