Cleveland Cavaliers a ‘looming’ threat to steal Hornets starting forward

PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets, (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets, (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

P.J. Washington’s current contract situation with the Charlotte Hornets is one of the more baffling scenarios of the offseason. Heading into the summer, it appeared that Washington would draw interest from numerous teams around the NBA, and the Hornets would happily match whatever offer sheet he chose to sign. Those expected offers are still yet to materialize.

Instead, Washington is in limbo and could be forced to sign his qualifying offer before becoming an unrestricted free agent in what would be a worst-case scenario for the Hornets. However, according to a rumor that Jake Weinbach has put into motion, the Cleveland Cavaliers could be a ‘looming’ threat to swoop in and steal Washington away from the Hornets.

"“The Cleveland Cavaliers are still looming as a serious landing spot for RFA PJ Washington in a sign-and-trade framework,” Weinbach posted on X (formerly known as Twitter.) “Charlotte has reportedly been unwilling to offer Washington a long-term deal and are open for discussions regarding the 24-year-old versatile forward.”"

Cleveland would need to offer Washington a deal that would ensure the Hornets don’t match the offer, which could be difficult for them considering their current cap situation and impending contract negotiations with Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell. In a recent article for Kings James Gospel, Josh Cornelissen explored the validity of a potential sign-and-trade, which would see the Hornets receiving some form of compensation for Washington, but Cornelissen concluded that the deal may be a difficult one to execute.

Regardless of whether the Cavaliers are able to steal Washington away from the Hornets or not, this situation is certainly something the new ownership team will want to avoid in the future. One of your franchise’s best players, who has developed with the team and broke into the starting line-up, should not be hung out to dry come contract time.

Unfortunately, the reality is that Washington is more likely to sign his qualifying offer and be a flight risk next summer than he is to receive an offer sheet at this late point in the off-season – and that will give the Hornets some tough decisions to make at the end of next season.

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