Mavs Notes: Washington, Williams, Luka, First-Round Pick, Kyrie

Two months after being traded from the Hornets to the Mavericks, P.J. Washington returned home on Tuesday night, relishing the opportunity to see his family and to play in front of the fans in Charlotte, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

“It was great, just being able to cheer for me one last time in this arena,” Washington said. “It meant the world to me. Being drafted here and obviously (having spent) my whole career here. So, it just meant a lot for sure.”

It has been a whirlwind couple months for Washington, who is still adjusting to playing for a new NBA team after spending the first four-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Hornets. But he has no complaints about getting the opportunity to play alongside stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving for a Mavericks team that clinched its spot in the playoffs with Tuesday’s blowout victory over Charlotte.

“It’s been great,” Washington said. “It’s two of the best to ever play the game, so it makes it a lot easier for me. They bring so much attention, which opens up the game for a lot of different people. So, they’ve made it a lot easier for me for sure.”

Head coach Jason Kidd appreciates what Washington has brought to the club: “(He has) the ability to play both sides — offense and defense. You could see when one of the guys are out — Luka, Ky — he’s stepped up for us. He’s given us an offensive spark. And then when you look at the defensive end, he’s been able to guard 1-5. He’s helped us here since March 7 be the No. 1 defensive team in the league. And he’s a pro. He comes to work every day, never complains, and he’s one of the few that when he runs out, comes out of the game, he gives you five. And that’s just a character thing that he has. He’s about the team and he just wants to win.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • While there were some rumors that Hornets forward Grant Williams wore out his welcome in Dallas or rubbed Doncic the wrong way, Luka said he has no issues with his former teammate. “Grant is a great guy,” Doncic said. “We have a good relationship. Outside, some people say we don’t. But we have (one).”
  • Williams has been playing better in Charlotte than he did in Dallas, making the deadline deal a success so far for both the Mavericks and Hornets, writes Boone. “Yeah, I think when you look at the trade it is a win-win,” Kidd said. “Grant’s doing an incredible job here (in Charlotte), You look at playing the five or playing whatever position they’ve asked him to play. He’s shooting the ball, he’s making decisions, he’s posting up, he’s guarding the five on the other end. So, I think he’s done an incredible job since the trade.”
  • Having clinched a playoff spot, the Mavericks will send their 2024 first-round pick to the Knicks, closing the book on the blockbuster 2019 Kristaps Porzingis trade, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter). Dallas’ pick currently projects to be No. 25 overall — a year ago the Mavs tanked their final game of the season to ensure they’d avoid sending their top-10 protected first-rounder to New York.
  • After last season’s second-half collapse, there were some questions about how the backcourt pairing of Doncic and Irving would mesh going forward, but the duo has thrived in 2023/24. According to Doncic, having Irving in Dallas has been a “blessing,” per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “Obviously on the court everybody knows what kind of player he is,” Doncic said. “Off the court he helps me a lot — not just me but the whole team. He knows how to win the championship. He’s a very humble guy. Great guy.”
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