How the Cavaliers could afford to sign P.J. Washington

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

How much would a P.J. Washington contract be?

How much will a Washington deal start at? It has to be a number too large for Charlotte to wish to commit to, and enough for Washington to accept and not simply play this season on his qualifying offer of $8.48 million and hit unrestricted free agency next season.

Per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Washington was reportedly looking for a four-year, $80 million deal this summer, paying him the same $20 million per season that Jarrett Allen is making. The Hornets have been far apart in negotiations this entire time, so given that Washington has no other premium suitors, he will likely be open to a lower salary number. But how low?

Assuming the Cavaliers aren’t going to trade one of their core players to Charlotte, and given that newly-signed players can’t be traded for six months, Cleveland has to build matching salary from the following players: Isaac Okoro, Ricky Rubio, Dean Wade, Damian Jones and Sam Merrill.

If the goal is to maximize their current roster, they could trade Ricky Rubio’s contract (who recently announced he was stepping away from basketball) of $6.14 million along with that of Damian Jones ($2.58). Those would total about $8.73 million, which means the Cavs could start a Washington deal at $16.23 million.

That would build a four-year salary of $69.95 million (let’s say $70 million to be simple), which averages out to $17.5 million per season. Would that be enough to make a deal work? It likely would, and perhaps the total amount could even be massaged down slightly from there with a few incentives. But it seems a reasonable framework.