The Charlotte Hornets and PJ Washington didn’t agree on a rookie extension, making the former Kentucky Wildcats standout a restricted free agent next offseason. That means the Hornets can match any offer he is given by another organization.
Washington was the Hornets' first-round pick in 2019, taken with the 12th-overall selection. The power forward actually saw a decrease in his minutes and transitioned to the second unit last season.
With Charlotte set to contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Washington’s impact will go a long way toward its ability to get to the postseason and the size of his next contract.
The Hornets are certainly waiting to pay LaMelo Ball quite a bit when he’s up for an extension as well, so that is undoubtedly in the back of their minds as they start to navigate building their roster.
Washington’s scoring went down with his minutes last season which certainly didn’t help the lack of an extension. He averaged 10.3 points per game but did shoot a career-best 47% from the field. He also hit 1.7 threes per game and shot 36.5% from deep.
Washington transitioned to play more center a season ago as well, and that could be something he exploits to showcase his versatility if when ultimately hits the open market. Washington could be an elite small-ball five.
The development that the former Wildcat shows this season will ultimately decide what type of offer he’s able to get next summer. With Miles Bridges not with the team to start the season, the door is wide open for Washington to his career-best averages across the board.