Could Spurs Trade for Hornets' P.J. Washington?

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The 2022 NBA Draft is approaching and among the top teams to watch for potential moves is the San Antonio Spurs. They hold the No. 9 overall pick along with two other first-round selections. They are viewed as a prime trade candidate. 

There has been no shortage of potential options in speculation for the Spurs to pursue using their draft picks. One of the more out-of-the-box ideas could be to package the No. 9 pick in a deal to land a more immediately ready contributor. 

OG Anunoby has been the most commonly mentioned potential trade target using the No. 9 overall pick. Such a move would surely require outright parting with the pick. What about if San Antonio traded down while still adding a contributor? 

In a recent trade speculation piece, NBA Analysis Network put together a trade package for the Spurs to acquire P.J. Washington from the Charlotte Hornets. The centerpiece of a deal would include the No. 9 overall pick and Josh Richardson in exchange for Washington and the No. 15 overall pick. Here is the proposed offer: 

Charlotte Hornets Receive: G Josh Richardson, 2022 First-Round Pick (No. 9 – SAS)

San Antonio Spurs Receive: F/C PJ Washington, 2022 First-Round Pick (No. 15 – CHA)

Washington is set to enter the fourth season of his career after being drafted No. 12 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. He is coming off a 2021-22 season with averages of 10.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while shooting 36.5 percent on 3s. 

The Spurs parting with Josh Richardson shouldn’t be an issue when considering they have Devin Vassell and Joshua Primo to develop on the wing. Washington could slot in at the four with Keldon Johnson at the three. 

The main concern for the Spurs would be the ceiling of a lineup consisting of Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, P.J. Washington, and Jakob Poeltl barring any additional moves. 

If the Spurs were to move down to No. 15 overall, it’s unlikely that either Jalen Duren or Mark Williams will still be available by the time they are on the clock. Given the Hornets’ need for a center, they could gain prime position to draft Duren. 

Another factor to consider, moving down from No. 9 overall creates a complicated situation where the Spurs water down their first selection while still having two late first-round picks. Attempting to move up from No. 12 would be wise.

The Spurs would likely need to believe that Washington has higher upside playing in their system compared to what he’s been able to show with the Hornets. Additionally, taking a chance on that potential would need to be worth moving down from the first top 10 selection they’ve had since 1997.

You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.

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