Most saw the need for a backup small forward for Kevin Durant. Sam Presti did too.
The Thunder acquired Lazar Hayward late Tuesday from the Wolves for Robert Vaden and two conditional second round picks. Hayward, a 6-6 swingman, is 25 years old and was taken 30th overall in 2010. Last season with Minnesota, he averaged 3.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 42 games.
“We are excited to be able to add Lazar to our organization,” Sam Presti said in a release. “Lazar is someone who we followed closely through the draft process and identified as a potential fit for the culture and identity that we are continuing to build in Oklahoma City. His toughness, length and shooting are attributes that will add depth to our roster, while his professionalism and competitiveness embody the intangibles that we value as an organization.”
Hayward is out of Marquette and was a pretty good college player. He had a reputation there for being a gritty, tough player that got more out of effort than out of physical ability. You know, a Presti type of player.
OKC had a need at small forward and targeted Hayward as a low-risk backup. The Thunder gave up very little to a team that didn’t have a need for Hayward. It adds more depth and gives Scott Brooks a chance to play with rotations and playing time a bit more. The Wolves already had too much of a logjam at small forward with Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams, so unloading Hayward for a few assets made sense for them.
It also could potentially hint that the team doesn’t see Thabo as a backup to Durant but either a backup to James Harden or even still the starter.
Hayward’s contract has him on OKC’s books through 2013, with a team option for 2014. He’s making about $1.1 million per season the next two years and would make $2.1 in his option year.