By now, it’s no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in big man P.J. Washington.
However, it seems as though he might end up returning to the Charlotte Hornets.
“But the buzz has been light in NBA circles so far, as most sources expect Washington to take his qualifying offer,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus.
It was recently reported that the Cavaliers haven’t had “extensive, detailed or meaningful” trade talks about Washington with the Hornets. The University of Kentucky product is aiming to get $20 million per year on his next contract and currently a restricted free agent.
His market has been pretty bare to date. Therefore, it might be in his best interest to accept the qualifying offer worth just under $8.5 million so that he can hit unrestricted free agency next offseason.
The former first-round pick would be betting on himself, but he’s coming off a solid 2022-23 season in which he recorded 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 blocks per game while knocking down 44.4 percent of his shots from the field and 34.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
He’d likely have a larger market as an unrestricted free agent, as teams interested in him wouldn’t have to be worried about the Hornets matching their offers and keeping him in Charlotte.
Should the Cavaliers end up executing a sign-and-trade deal for Washington, it would be interesting to see which players would make way for the 24-year-old.
His possible role on the team would also be something to think about. Washington has been a starter for three of his four NBA seasons and likely wants to continue being one.
Perhaps Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff would decide to start Washington at small forward and deploy a starting lineup with three big men, something he did in the 2021-22 season.
Washington doesn’t have much experience playing small forward, but neither did Lauri Markkanen before he joined the Cavs.
For now, all Cavs fans can do is wait and see what ends up happening. Even if the team doesn’t acquire Washington, it has a solid core with Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
Coming off a 51-win regular season, the future is bright in Cleveland. Maybe Washington will be around to witness it up-close.