3 reasons the Cavaliers should sign-and-trade for P.J. Washington

P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Joshua Gateley/Getty Images)
P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Joshua Gateley/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Reason No. 3 – Can’t Cleveland have it all?

When the Cavaliers added Max Strus, a player fresh off a run as a starter in the NBA Finals, Cleveland only lost fringe rotational players in Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens alongside a few second-round picks.

For a player of Strus’ caliber, that kind of trade package is absolutely below what his typical market value would project to be. Miami only received a single second-round pick, as well, sending the rest of the assets to the San Antonio Spurs. In reality, the Heat wanted to shed Strus’ salary in lieu of the second tax apron in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The Hornets are far from living in fear of the CBA’s harsh new rules, but they are not far from a similar mindset with Washington’s future. They have his Bird Rights, meaning they can offer him a larger contract than most other teams. If Charlotte was willing to spend the money for P.J. Washington, there’s no reason not to have done it.

In truth, the Hornets are a rebuilding team searching for their long term core. Their other remaining free agent, Kelly Oubre Jr., is still in wait for a deal as well. Charlotte’s focus does not seem to be on retaining either player and instead on stockpiling cap space for the future.

With this in mind, the Cavaliers are in a prime position to sign-and-trade for Washington for a similar haul as Strus. They still have a stash of second-round picks, and the new additions filling up Cleveland’s rotation could leave other Cavs available for a deal.

Sending Ricky Rubio alongside possibly Dean Wade and Sam Merrill could be enough to get the deal done, assuming the Cavs are willing to part ways with all three players. Wade is likely still going to receive rotation minutes, and Rubio is at least in contention. But, Washington is simply worth the heartbreak.

Adding Washington without losing Allen only bolsters Cleveland’s future potential. Perhaps Washington’s size makes him more useful at the small forward position. In that case, Allen is still possible as the trade centerpiece for a different power forward. If Washington is the right call, then there is no urgent need to trade Allen until the right option emerges.

Next. What success looks like for Cavs wing Max Strus in the 2023-24 season. dark

In any scenario, P.J. Washington in Cleveland is one final splash for free agency the front office should heavily consider.