Could the Cavaliers sign P.J. Washington?
Let’s break down a few facts of the situation, then discuss how the Cavaliers could make the money work to add Washington. First, the Cavs do not have any available cap space, and their exceptions remaining are pieces of the Mid-Level ($3.6 million remaining) and the Bi-Annual ($2 million remaining); those won’t help in signing Washington.
Secondly, Washington is a restricted free agent. That means that even were the Cavs to dump salary to somehow get under the salary cap (not happening; they would have to move massive amounts of money) the Hornets could match any offer he signs. So a low, one-year “prove-it” deal like Christian Wood or Kelly Oubre Jr. might sign won’t work for Washington, as the Hornets would quickly match it.
That means the Cavs would need to work with the Hornets on a sign-and-trade, similar to what they pulled off with Max Strus. That means sending enough matching salary to bring back Washington’s starting number, and compensation to convince Charlotte to play ball.
Thankfully, the new CBA will help Cleveland out here. They used the updated salary matching rules to great effect in the Strus deal, sending out just over $7.5 million in salary to take back Strus’ starting number of $14.48 million; if you send out between $7.5 million and $29 million you can take back up to $7.5 million more.
How much would a Washington contract be?