If you are the Charlotte Hornets, and you’re 10-33, you have no doubt reached the conclusion that the postseason might not be in the cards for you and that, perhaps, it is time to scrap everything and start over. If you are the Golden State Warriors, you’re 19-23 and desperately trying to find the right fit to keep you in the Western Conference playoff mix, even with nine losses in the last 13 games. A Warriors trade feels inevitable.
“No question,” one Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports. “They’ve had conversations, I think, with just about everyone in the league. They’re casting a wide net, I think that is how they would look at it. They have Stephen Curry, they need more pieces that can complement him. So, they’re looking everywhere. I would probably call it getting desperate, but that depends on how you’re looking at it.”
Well, in a meeting of two desperate organizations, the Hornets and Warriors could get together on a sensible, if not spectacular, trade: one that would send Hornets big man P.J. Washington to Golden State.
Warriors Trade for PJ Washington a ‘Best Fit’
That’s the notion from The Athletic, which notes on its NBA Trade Board that the Hornets’ Washington has quietly been made available and qualifies as a “best fit” for the Warriors. Washington surely would be open to an upgrade in his surroundings, especially after he got a new contract, worth $48 million over three years, this summer in restricted free agency.
Currently, Washington is averaging 12.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists, shooting 43.4% from the field and 32.8% from the 3-point line. That’s below his usual production, as The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie writes:
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if they looked to get him off their books and if another team valued him enough to give up assets in a trade. This hasn’t been Washington’s best season, as he’s struggled to shoot it from 3 and seen his role reduced as the team has re-integrated Miles Bridges and drafted (Brandon) Miller.”
Stephen Curry Needs Help
At his best, though, Washington is a sweet-shooting forward capable of playing all three big positions, and has the kind of positional versatility the Warriors covet. His 3-point shooting is an aberration this year, as he is a 36.1% career 3-point shooter, and he can protect the rim—he averages 1.0 blocks per game over his career. He is not just a best fit for the Warriors, he’s a best fit for Curry.
Washington is on the books for $16.8 million this year, and if the Warriors wanted to ship him out to Charlotte, they could do so for Chris Paul, if they took back another salary—Cody Martin, perhaps.
The Warriors would have to send out some measure of draft compensation—a protected first-rounder should do—to make it work. But if they’re serious about saving this season, they would be willing to give up a future asset.
Washington is not blockbuster material. But the Warriors have Curry, and they have talent. They don’t necessarily need a blockbuster. This team just needs a guy who fits well alongside Curry, and Washington’s skillset does that.
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