The Charlotte Hornets are buzzing their way into Eastern Conference contention thanks to the play of LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and others. A potential casualty of this team making strides? Third-year forward P.J. Washington.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Washington is a “trade possibility” for the Hornets due to the expiring contracts of Bridges and Cody Martin. Other reasons for this notion are likely Washington’s diminishing role in head coach James Borrego’s rotation, as well as the investments they’ve already made in Hayward and Rozier. As a former lottery pick with a well-rounded offensive game, Washington is an enticing grab for an NBA team, if he’s available.
Here are three ideal trade destinations for P.J. Washington.
3) P.J. Washington boosts the Chicago Bulls
- Bulls get: P.J. Washington
- Hornets get: Troy Brown Jr., Bulls’ 2024 first-round draft pick and Bulls’ 2026 second-round draft pick
The Bulls are one of the surprise teams in the NBA this season; they’re a team that can do damage in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. One way Chicago can improve is by making a move for an interior player and/or someone who can score from the perimeter like Washington.
Yes, the Bulls are the one seed in the East. That said, their depth is suspect, and Washington would lift their efforts in that regard. He’d give head coach Billy Donovan an efficient shooter who can both stretch the floor and get points in the paint. Washington could be their immediate power forward but likely make more of an impact being a part of the second unit.
Patrick Williams’ absence is part of the Bulls’ depth concerns. In the short term, Washington would essentially replace Williams, as they’re each versatile players on the offensive end and in the raw stages of their NBA careers. Furthermore, Washington would ensure the Bulls having more depth for next season, as he’s under contract through at least the 2022-23 NBA season.
- P.J. Washington stats (career): 12.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 44.6/38.3/69.8
Chicago sends Charlotte future draft picks, which would be the featured part of this trade proposal, and a potential rotation player in Brown. The Bulls beef up their frontcourt rotation while the Hornets get future picks and cap space.
All that being said, the Bulls may prefer to play out the season with their current roster and reassess themselves after the season.
2) P.J. Washington reworks the Dallas Mavericks
- Mavericks get: P.J. Washington
- Hornets get: Dorian Finney-Smith and Mavericks’ 2026 first-round draft pick
The Mavericks will inevitably look to improve before the NBA trade deadline, especially on the offensive end; Dallas has been more defensive than offensive-oriented under new head coach Jason Kidd this season. Washington would bode well in their offense.
The University of Kentucky product isn’t getting in anyone’s way on the offensive end. He can play both inside and outside. On one hand, Washington can stretch the floor for Luka Doncic to operate in isolation. Meanwhile, he provides Dallas with a bit of an inside presence.
Washington would likely start from the jump, playing in-between Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. He blends into a relatively young team that’s trying to break through in a ruthless Western Conference. Washington offers them upside, as well as someone who could be reborn and thrive in a new environment given his offensive versatility.
- P.J. Washington contract per Spotrac: third season of his rookie deal
Dallas sends Charlotte Finney-Smith, who essentially replaces Washington in their rotation, and a future first-rounder for their troubles. Neither player should have a noteworthy acclimation period with their new team.
What could stop the Mavericks from trading for Washington, though, is them feeling he isn’t enough of an upgrade over Finney-Smith to trade a future first-rounder.
1) P.J. Washington to the Sacramento Kings
- Kings get: P.J. Washington
- Hornets get: Damian Jones, Robert Woodard II and Kings’ 2024 first-round draft pick
The next 12 months will be one of two things for the Kings: 1) the front office assembling a blockbuster trade to get a star-caliber player next to De’Aaron Fox or 2) a full-scale rebuild that sees players like Fox and Buddy Hield get traded. Washington fits into whichever direction they choose to go.
In scenario one, Washington becomes a plug-and-play scorer in the team’s frontcourt. Washington and Richaun Holmes could be a hassle for opposing defenses given their ability to score in a variety of ways. The Kings don’t necessarily have a player with Washington’s precise skill set.
On the other hand, if the Kings blow it up, Washington can be part of the team’s rebuild, serving as a frontcourt scorer who would have the chance to become an impact player. He’d be in the final year of his rookie deal and therefore playing for a new contract.
Washington can hoop. It’s a matter of consistency and a team committing to him. As a struggling team, the Kings have reason to buy into Washington’s upside.
Sacramento sends Charlotte a pair of capable young rotation players in Jones, who can score inside, and Woodard, who can stretch the floor, along with a future first-rounder. The Kings improve in both the short and long term while the Hornets attain more flexibility.