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Thunder forward has ‘fans’ within division rival’s front office: report

The mid-season experiment of adding veteran Gordon Hayward to this title-hungry OKC Thunder roster did not work out as many had initially hoped.

Now, following their semi-final elimination against the Dallas Mavericks, all signs point to the forward becoming a half-season rental as rumors and comments point to a rift between him and the franchise.

Despite his lackluster productivity in Loud City, where he posted averages of just 5.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 26 games and ultimately lost his spot in the rotation during their ill-fated postseason excursion, the impending free agent agent is still an individual who could eventually gain some attention on the open market and, according to recent rumors, a direct division rival could be open to bringing his services on board.

According to beat writer Harrison Wind, there are members of the Nuggets organization who have expressed interest in adding a forward to the ball club’s arsenal for next season, as he noted that he has received word that there is personnel in Denver who is . Hayward fans.”

While Hayward’s tenure with the Thunder has been far from sensational or, frankly, even enviable, his productivity before his move to Loud City and over the past several campaigns suggests that team fit rather than personal decline may have been the most important factor in his mediocre performance. during the second half of 2023-2024.

During the three seasons prior to this past few seasons playing for the Charlotte Hornets, Hayward had posted impressive per-game averages of 16.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.0 steals while posting a very efficient 46.9 percent shooting from the floor and 38.1 percent from deep.

Even this year, the 34-year-old once again put in impressive efforts during his 25 games in Buzz City, averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 46.8 percent from the ground shooting and 36.1 percent shooting from distance.

In the right setting and with a clear role within a rotation, there is reason to believe Hayward is someone who can still make a positive contribution to a bevy of teams spread across the league.

Wind’s findings show the Nuggets agree with this mentality.

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