PJ Washington to the Knicks? What a trade would look like

Nov 8, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward PJ Washington (25)
Nov 8, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward PJ Washington (25) / Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s trade deadline is suddenly without shouting distance and the Hornets are still all over the news. According to Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer, It now appears that the most likely Hornet to actually get traded before Thursday at 3 PM is P.J. Washington.

I’ve written about Washington and his trade value and market on multiple occasions, and I’ve made fake trades for several teams. But I haven’t dug deep into the Knicks, the latest team to show “legitimate interest”, and it appears they may be one of the most likely teams to ultimately land Washington.

The Knicks’ need for P.J. is obvious, especially in the wake of Julius Randle’s injury. They could slot Washington in as a big wing, a stretch four, or even eventually play a small-ball lineup with a frontcourt featuring OG Anunoby, Washington, and Randle that could be pretty scary on both ends.

Here's what the Knicks can offer

Unlike some other suitors, the Knicks have plenty of draft pick equity to offer that should interest Charlotte, and they’ve got some young players who can sweeten any deal as well. We’ll see how many chips the Knicks are willing to push in at this deadline. But they are right in the mix for a top 2 seed in the East and they may sense a real opportunity this season that makes it worth taking a big shot.

The first player the Hornets should be asking about is third-year shooting guard, Quentin Grimes. Grimes, at 23 years old and standing at 6’5” would be a perfect off-guard between LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller.

In a limited role, the strong, athletic Grimes has shown the ability to be a very good shooter, a solid driver and secondary ball handler creator, a good defender, and the type of gritty, hard-nosed player the Hornets badly need. He’d be an excellent addition to the Hornets' young core.

Beyond that, the Hornets will almost definitely have to take back veteran wing Evan Fournier in any deal for Washington. His $18.9 million expiring deal (he has a team option for next season which will almost definitely be declined) is necessary for salary matching, and he has barely played for the Knicks over the last two seasons.

Sweet, sweet draft picks

Then, of course, the Hornets should be asking for as many draft picks as they can possibly get. The Knicks have all of their own first-round picks and several more due from other teams. Two firsts plus Grimes would be a slam dunk for the Hornets. 

The Knicks may be willing to part with this year’s first from Dallas - likely a late teens or early 20s pick -  and perhaps the 2025 Bucks first, as with Giannis and Dame locked in that will likely be a pick in the late 20s. The Knicks could also trade any of their picks, which look to fall in the 20s as well.

If things get tight and the Hornets can’t squeeze multiple first-round picks out of the Knicks, they do have a bunch of second-round picks they can add to the deal to make it work. The Hornets could also consider adding Nick Richards to push the deal over the top. Isaiah Hartenstein has been playing great, and they just added Precious Achiuwa, but the Knicks could use another center with Mitchell Robinson likely out for the year.

With the Knicks getting both Washington and Richards, the Hornets would have to ask for Grimes, at least two first-round picks, and possibly some seconds as well. If the Hornets can get that return they should pull the trigger. The Mavs could easily crater and miss the playoffs in the loaded West - that could be a good pick - and the Bucks are already looking fragile and will be a year older next season. 

Those would be valuable picks, and Grimes would be a very solid core addition. This would constitute an outstanding deadline for the Hornets.

PJW to NYK trade