Hornets make splash at trade deadline

PJ Washington was traded to the Mavericks
PJ Washington was traded to the Mavericks / David Jensen/GettyImages

It seems that the Charlotte Hornets front office has accepted that the team isn't a playoff contender this year, and thus are cleaning house in order to acquire assets for the future and veteran players that can help lead this young team. In the past, GM Mitch Kupchak had been noticeably passive at the trade deadline, but today he made what I think are prudent deals.

P.J. Washington

According to the Stadium Insider Shams Charania, Hornets forward PJ Washington has been traded to Dallas Mavericks in exchange for guard Steph Curry and power forward Grant Williams, as well as a 2027 protected first round pick. Washington was drafted by the Hornets twelfth overall in 2019 NBA draft. He was a reliable presence averaging thirteen points a game and five and half rebounds for his career so far as stated by ESPN stats. However, the immediate goal of the team is to build around star rookie Brandon Miller and the team's superstar Lamelo Ball. He was also one of the most valuable trade pieces remaining on the board. It will be a homecoming for Curry and Williams who grew up in the Charlotte area. Curry provides some sharp shooting and Williams could provide help for the Hornets young center Mark Williams.

Gordon Hayward

In addition, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Hornets are trading Gordon Hayward to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Davis Bertans, Tre Man, and draft compensation. Zach Lowe of ESPN then added that the draft compensation is two future second round picks. They are also sending former Euroleague MVP Vasilije Micic . Trading Hayward was likely the most important move to get out of the way for the Hornets. He has unfortunately missed significant portions of each season with injuries since coming over from the Boston Celtics and had a huge contract. This year alone he had a cap hit of $33,292,241 via sportsrac.

Almost Deals: Miles Bridges

Due to obvious off the court issues as well as his recent trade value, many fans were hoping that a deal would get done for Miles Bridges at the deadline. Their were rumours circulating that the Phoenix Suns were very much interested in Bridges. The problem is Bridges has a no-trade-clause. A night after Bridges put up forty-five points in a losing effort against the Raptors, reports came out that he will be staying put in Charlotte at least until the end of the season. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that Bridges had decided not to approve any trades. This could be looked at him wanting to choose his next location in the off-season and continuing to put up points in season to raise the value.

Recap And Moving Parts

As a reminder, the Hornets also traded guard Terry Rozier two weeks ago to the Miami Heat. They acquired a 2027 first round pick in that deal. Kyle Lowry also came over in the trade but what's unclear is whether he will remain with the team. He was not moved before the deadline, however. I could also see Bertans contract being bought out but that is yet to be seen. If not, he's a good shooter with size. Steve Reed of the Associated Press came out and said that the two second round picks from the Hayward trade are for 2024 and 2025. Rozier and PJ Washington were on two year contracts while Hayward's was expiring. The Micic, Mann, and Bertans, and Curry deals were for only one year and Bertans is non-guaranteed. Williams has three years remaining on his contract. With the new ownership group taking the lead, its very possible that coach Steve Clifford and GM Mitch Kupchak could be out in the off-season but these moves can help show Ball and Miller, the two key pieces on the team, that they are serious about getting better in the future. It also gives fresh scenery to the departing players who all landed at relatively succesful teams. In one of his first Heat press conferences, Rozier said the Hornets had a culture of losing. Its time for that to change.