Grade the Trade: Cavaliers add P.J. Washington in bold new pitch

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

Should the Cavaliers make this trade?

What about the Cavaliers; does this trade make sense for them? The value is not exorbitant; while Rubio is beloved by the organization and his time away from basketball is fully supported, the combination of his uncertain future, age and play last season (admittedly in the first few months back from an ACL tear) make him a player Cleveland was not relying on for next year. Damian Jones is backup center flotsam. The two picks are valuable, but worth it to add a difference-maker.

Is P.J. Washington a difference-maker? Last year he averaged 15.7 points per game in a career-year, playing 32.6 minutes per contest. His increased volume eroded his efficiency a bit, as he hit a career-low 34.8 percent from deep, but his career mark of 36.6 percent is decent-enough for a big. He has plenty of touch inside and can finish well, even against larger players.

Washington has the combination of mobility and strength to operate as a switch big, able to slide to center in small-ball lineups and guard up to forwards. He isn’t a difference-maker on that end, but he isn’t a pushover either, and his versatility makes it easier to pair him with a rim protector or other elite defender.

He could become a three-headed big man monster for the Cavaliers, coming off the bench but playing the 4 with both Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. The switch possibilities with he and Mobley would be tantalizing. If he plays well, the Cavs could be more confident moving on from Jarrett Allen and trusting in the Mobley brothers at center and a combination of Washington, Georges Niang and Dean Wade at the 4.

The Cavs do sit at just 13 players before this deal, and would be at 12 after. How they could fill out the rest of the roster would also inform how this deal looks.