3 P.J. Washington trades to help lead the Hornets into the future

P.J. Washington, of the Charlotte Hornets
P.J. Washington, of the Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages
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Thunder Get:

PJ Washington (3yr/$46.5m), Nick Richards (3yr/$15m), Ish Smith (1yr/$2m), Frank Ntilikina (1yr/$2m)

Hornets Get: 

Davis Bertans (2yr/$33m), Aleksej Pokusevski (1yr/$5m), Ousmane Dieng (3yr/$16.5m), Tre Mann (2yr/$8.1m), 2024 First-round pick (via LAC), 2025 First-round pick

Things are always quiet around the Thunder, but this is a deal that would make a ton of sense for them. OKC has been an amazing story this year, and they have a very good team, but a few more good players, especially in the frontcourt, could push them into true contender status.

PJ could be a great starting power forward to help Chet battle guys down low, and wouldn’t hurt their floor spacing, while providing an inside threat as well and someone who can drive and finish at the rim. He would allow the Thunder to play a lot bigger lineups, something they’ll surely need in the playoffs against teams like Denver and Minnesota.

Speaking of that need, Richards would be a perfect backup center for the Thunder - something they’ve been badly missing. Chet has played almost exclusively at center, and he’s done well, but it would be nice to have a capable backup, and they could potentially even see what it looks like with Chet at the 4 next to a true center.

The Thunder would have to give up a lot, but they can afford it. Pokusevski is a tall lanky project of a player, but he can shoot the hell out of the ball and has some ridiculous playmaking ability for his size. He needs to put on muscle, but he has some freakish potential.

Dieng is a big athletic player who is extremely raw. He’d be a great project to develop in Charlotte and his game would be a nice complement to the polished offensive packages of Ball and Miller.

Mann is a pure sharpshooter. He’s a little small for a shooting guard, but the Hornets could have the size to cover for it with Ball at point guard. Mann has had some good moments in the league already and could catch on with an extended role.

Adding two first-round picks makes this deal a home run for the Hornets. The 2024 first would either come from OKC or the Clippers, likely in the late 20s either way. And the Thunder pick in 2025 would most likely be similar to that. But still, two first-round picks are two first-round picks, and those are great assets to have.

The Thunder have more picks than they can possibly use, and getting rid of two that are coming up fast and likely won’t be high picks anyway could be a very sharp move for them that would greatly increase their title odds in the short term.