Grading what the Hornets did at the NBA trade deadline

Jan 22, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (20), guard Terry Rozier (3), and forward PJ Washington (25)
Jan 22, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (20), guard Terry Rozier (3), and forward PJ Washington (25) / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

Move #4

PJ Trade

Grade: A

This deal is just a home run for the Hornets and one I find very questionable for the Mavericks. First of all, I’m not even sure how much of an upgrade Washington is over Williams. Grant has had a very tough go of it for Dallas this season, but he has proven to be a playoff performer and a very solid defensive player.

The Charlotte native should be able to help shift the defensive identity of the Hornets, and despite being undersized, he should be a nice upgrade over P.J. on that end of the court. He definitely doesn’t have the same offensive package as Washington, but he may be better suited to fill the low-usage role.

Grant has been a knockdown three-point shooter at times, especially from the corners, and has shown glimpses of some playmaking ability as a short-roller. If Williams can focus on being a low-usage, high-efficiency offensive player, ceding creation duties to LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller, and focus on being a defensive anchor, then he may end up fitting much better for the future of this Hornets team.

He’s also slightly younger than Washington and will make a little less per year while being under team control for a season longer. For better or worse, Williams will also bring an edge and a boisterous personality to the team. He’s not at all afraid to mix it up, and that’s a trait the Hornets have been lacking.

Seth Curry, another Charlotte native coming home is a feel-good story, especially with his father Dell, currently the team’s color commentator. It’s not clear how long Curry will stay with the team, as he’s in his 30s, and may welcome a buyout and a chance to join a contender.

A more fun scenario would be for Curry to play out the season as a fan favorite in Charlotte, offering some veteran leadership for the kids, and hitting some threes along the way. After that, Curry has one year left for just $4 million, so the Hornets could possibly flip him to a shooting-needy team at next year’s deadline.

But the best part of this deal for the Hornets is acquiring the Mavs 2027 first-round pick, protected only for the top 2 selections. Dallas has struggled to build a contender around MVP-candidate, Luka Doncic, and there’s no telling what the team may look like by 2027, or if Doncic will even still be there. This pick is a very attractive asset that may end up looking even better as the years go on.

We’ll wait and see on the second-round picks headed back to Dallas, but hopefully, they are protected in a way that they are unlikely to ever convey. Even if not the marginal downgrade from Washington to Williams and the addition of an intriguing first-round pick make this an outstanding trade for the Hornets.