Could this sign-and-trade work?
There are two problems with such a deal, however. The Hornets are going to want an incentive for facilitating this. Does a pair of second-round picks get it done? The Cavs don’t have a first to trade. If Rubio does officially retire then the Hornets can wipe his salary off of their books, although they have a low enough team salary for this season that it truly only matters for next year. Do they instead demand a player who can help them, such as Isaac Okoro?
The other problem is such a trade would push the Cavs into the luxury tax; they are hard-capped at the first tax apron, so this deal would push them very close to that level while needing to fill at least two more roster spots; that could force the salary down, which in turn could make it fall apart. If the Cavs try to include more salary they have to put in Dean Wade or Isaac Okoro instead of Jones, weakening their rotation.
Is it still worth it to Cleveland to sign Washington at the expense of, say, Isaac Okoro and Ricky Rubio, with two second-round picks? That’s an interesting question, and if the Cavs and Hornets truly are talking, it’s likely those negotiations that are key.
There is a financial path available to the Cavaliers if they want to execute a sign-and-trade for P.J. Washington. Each dollar will matter, however, making this a precise sort of negotiation for the teams to pull off.