P.J. Washington Heads Home to North Carolina in Trade to Mavericks

In a deadline deal that sends the North Carolina native closer to his roots, the Dallas Mavericks have finalized a trade to acquire power forward P.J. Washington from the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets will receive Grant Williams, Seth Curry, and a lightly protected first-round pick in return. Washington, who played collegiately at the University of Kentucky, was born and raised in Dallas, North Carolina. The trade brings the 24-year-old closer to his hometown as he joins a Mavericks team with championship aspirations. Averaging 13.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game this season, Washington adds frontcourt depth and versatility that the Mavericks have coveted. He will likely slot into the starting power forward role that Williams has occupied to underwhelming results.

Struggles Prompt Mavericks to Seek Upgrade

Williams, acquired this past offseason from the Boston Celtics, showed early promise but saw his production taper off dramatically. After averaging 15.1 points in his first eight games, Williams slid into a reserve role the past two months as his scoring dwindled to just 6.9 points per contest over that stretch.

With Williams failing to provide the two-way impact Dallas envisioned at power forward, the front office set its sights on Washington, a target they have held in high regard for some time. The Mavericks hope that adding a hometown talent like Washington will energize both the team and its North Carolina fanbase. The trade comes at an interesting time as North Carolina prepares to launch legal sports betting.

Sports Betting Coming Soon to North Carolina

North Carolina legalized sports betting in 2021, and the first sportsbooks are expected to open in early 2023 now that regulations have been finalized. Major sportsbook operators like FanDuel and DraftKings are lined up to offer North Carolina sportsbook promos and competitive odds on sports like basketball.

With an estimated $500 million annual market, North Carolina is primed to become a major player in sports betting. The Mavericks and other NBA teams stand to benefit from increased fan engagement and revenue. Legal wagering on games could help boost viewership, ticket sales and merchandise purchases. For Washington, the trade is also a homecoming off the court. He was born in Dallas, North Carolina, a small town west of Charlotte. Playing for his home state team will allow Washington’s family and friends easy access to see him compete live.

Other Mavericks Upgrades in the Works

In addition to acquiring Washington, the Mavericks are reportedly working on upgrading at the center. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Dallas is finalizing a deal with the Washington Wizards to bring in defensive-minded big man Daniel Gafford.

Gafford will provide rim protection and rebounding behind Mavericks rookie standout Dereck Lively II. The added frontcourt depth gives Dallas the kind of physicality and versatility needed to match up with the Western Conference’s best in the playoffs. With an offense led by superstar Luka Dončić, the Mavericks hope defensive reinforcements like Gafford and Washington will help take them deep into the postseason. Bringing Washington back to his North Carolina roots could give the Mavericks both a talent boost and an emotional lift when they need it most.