As we get closer to the start of NBA free agency, Charlotte Hornets fans will be waiting to see what happens with P.J. Washington. The 2019 lottery pick will be entering restricted free agency for the first time in his career and will likely have multiple suitors from around the NBA.
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the addition of Brandon Miller on draft night could spell the end of Washington’s time with the Hornets. However, O’Connor did note how a potential sign-and-trade could ensure Mitch Kupchak doesn’t see one of Charlotte’s best trade assets leave for nothing.
"“What about Simons to the Hornets in a sign-and-trade for P.J. Washington (who plays essentially the same position as incoming no. 2 pick Brandon Miller)?” O’Connor wrote."
Should the Hornets decide to move on from P.J. Washington, who impressed during his first full season as a starter in their rotation, Anfernee Simons could be an ideal candidate to target. Last season, Simons played in 62 regular-season games, averaging 21.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 44.7% from the field and 37.7% from deep.
The question is, would both teams be willing to make the trade? Let’s take a look.
Would the Charlotte Hornets swap P.J. Washington for Anfernee Simons?
Regardless of whether the Hornets decide to bring back Miles Bridges, the front office would be wise to look at potential long-term solutions for their shooting guard position. After missing an entire year of basketball and having some serious pushback from large sections of the fanbase, Bridges’ tenure with the Hornets could be entering its final stages (if it’s not already over).
Having spent his first five seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, Simons is well-versed in playing alongside a ball-dominant point guard and understands how to provide secondary offense and playmaking.
Simons also fits the Hornets’ current timeline. At 24 years old, the 2021 NBA Dunk Champion is still in the infancy of his career and will continue to improve his game for the foreseeable future. For a Hornets team that is likely to be rebuilding around LaMelo Ball and Miller, Simons could be the ideal third piece to the puzzle.
With Miller now in the fold and Washington already a potential flight risk, flipping him in a deal to land Simons would be a wise move by Kupchak and the Hornets’ front office. For Charlotte, this potential move makes sense on multiple levels.