James Bouknight

Mavericks Acquire P.J. Washington From Hornets

6:43pm: The deal is official, according to press releases from both teams. The Hornets’ announcement indicates that the two draft picks they sent to Dallas are second-rounders in 2024 and 2028.

Charlotte’s lone 2024 second-round selection is Boston’s pick, so that will presumably be the one headed to the Mavericks. The Hornets own the Clippers’ 2028 second-rounder as well as their own, so it’s unclear which of those was included in the deal.

The Hornets didn’t announce in their press release which player they waived to complete the one-for-two trade, but an earlier report stated that James Bouknight was being let go.

12:07pm: The Hornets will send P.J. Washington to the Mavericks in exchange for Grant Williams, Seth Curry and a first-round pick, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The pick will be Dallas’ 2027 selection, which will be top-two protected, Charania adds (Twitter link). In return, the Mavs will get two second-rounders from Charlotte.

Dallas was willing to part with its last tradeable first-rounder so it could keep Josh Green out of the deal, sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Washington provides Dallas with a reliable frontcourt scorer on a manageable long-term contract. He’s signed through the 2025/26 season with annual salaries of $16.8MM, $15.5MM and $14.1MM and has a bonus of $500K if he plays at least 74 games or 2,400 minutes, which is considered unlikely, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

The 25-year-old forward has been with Charlotte since being selected with the 12th pick in the 2019 draft. He was used mainly off the bench this year after starting last season and was averaging 13.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 44 games.

The Mavericks find a way to move off the four-year deal they gave Williams last summer in a sign-and-trade with Boston. He’s making $12.4MM this year and is owed $13MM, $13.6MM and $14.2MM over the next three seasons. Williams, 25, hadn’t provided the fit that Dallas was hoping for and was averaging just 8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per night.

Curry, who heads to his hometown in the trade, is effectively an expiring contract as his $4MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed. The 33-year-old shooting specialist appeared in 36 games after signing with the Mavericks last summer, but was averaging just 4.3 PPG and playing 12.7 minutes per night.

Hornets To Cut James Bouknight

The Hornets have decided to part ways with former lottery pick James Bouknight, who will be placed on waivers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Charlotte has to make multiple cuts today, since the team agreed to trade Gordon Hayward for three players and P.J. Washington for two.

The 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Bouknight never developed into a reliable rotation player for the Hornets, averaging 4.8 points and 1.7 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game across 79 career appearances. His shooting line during that time was just .363/.335/.762.

Bouknight also had some legal troubles after making his NBA debut and has battled injuries. The 23-year-old underwent surgery to repair a meniscus injury in his left knee in October, which delayed his debut this season.

The Hornets declined their fourth-year option for 2024/25 on Bouknight, so he’s on an expiring contract and will count against Charlotte’s cap for $4.57MM in ’23/24. The team won’t be on the hook for any money for him beyond this season.

Bouknight will be eligible to sign with any team after clearing waivers.

Southeast Notes: Rozier, Hornets, Bagley, Harris

The Hornets will find it difficult to replace everything Terry Rozier brought to the team both on and off the court, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. With Rozier being traded to Miami this week, Charlotte lost one of its top scoring threats as well as a vocal veteran leader who set an example for his younger teammates.

“He was great in the way that he practiced because he truly cares,” coach Steve Clifford said. “Anytime we did a drill in practice, particularly defensively, he’d be the first guy to jump in. I think things like that are hard to replace and they can’t be faked. We have other guys who have leadership qualities, too, and now they’ll have more of an opportunity to step forward.”

Clifford expects rookie Brandon Miller to get a larger role in the offense as the Hornets try to replace Rozier’s 23.2 points per game. Clifford plans to rely more on younger players in general, but he’ll be careful not to give them more responsibility than they’re ready to handle.

“Right now, Nick Smith Jr. is in a role that he’s doing a good job with,” he said. “If you double that, it’s going to be hard. What we need is some of these other guys to play a bit more. Nick Smith Jr. can play a little bit more, but he’s just not ready for 26 minutes a night. He’s doing a really good job with the minutes he’s been given, but we’re going to have to figure that out.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • In a separate story, Boone examines which Hornets players could be traded before the February 8 deadline. The most intriguing possibilities are impending free agents Gordon Hayward, who has a $31.5MM expiring contract, and Miles Bridges, who might have some trade value if management decides he’s not part of the team’s future. Boone also lists James Bouknight, Nick Richards, Ish Smith and P.J. Washington as players who could be on the move.
  • Marvin Bagley III continues to look like a different player since the Wizards acquired him from Detroit, observes Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Bagley came off the bench to score 17 points and grab 15 rebounds Wednesday night, collecting six of the team’s seven offensive boards. “I’m just playing hard, man. I’m just trying to bring energy whenever I’m on the floor, trying to be aggressive, just do what I do,” Bagley said. “Now we’ve just got to put it all together to try to finish games and try to get a win.”
  • Magic two-way guard Kevon Harris is trying to get caught up after missing the first half of the season with knee soreness, per Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Harris played his first G League game of the season earlier this month and hopes to eventually find a way to help the NBA team. “I’m just grateful to be back out there on the floor with the team,” he said. “I’m still trying to get in my rhythm out there and trying to have fun out there right now. I’ve been out for a few months, so it feels good to be back out there on the court and getting back to the flow of things.”

Injury Notes: Ball, Bouknight, Butler, Murphy, Reddish, Oubre

There’s some good news and bad news on the injury front for the Hornets. The team confirmed (via Twitter) that star guard LaMelo Ball will be unavailable on Tuesday in New York for Charlotte’s final round robin game in the in-season tournament, as he’s been ruled out due to a right ankle strain.

However, guard James Bouknight, who has spent the entire season recovering from knee surgery that he underwent last month, has been cleared to return and will be active for the first time on Tuesday. According to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), Bouknight described himself as “excited (and) anxious,” noting that it has been quite some time since he played.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • The Heat still have a chance to claim a spot in the quarterfinals of the in-season tournament with a win over Milwaukee tonight, but if they’re going to do it, they’ll need to do it without Jimmy Butler. He has been ruled out for Tuesday’s contest due to a sprained right ankle, per the team (Twitter link).
  • With CJ McCollum reportedly nearing a return for the Pelicans, will Trey Murphy be right behind him? Christian Clark of NOLA.com hears from multiple sources that there’s optimism Murphy could make his season debut next week. Murphy underwent surgery in September to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.
  • Cam Reddish, who has missed the Lakers‘ past three games with a groin strain, is “extremely close” to returning, head coach Darvin Ham said on Monday, according to Khobi Price of The Southern California News Group (Twitter link).
  • Sixers forward Kelly Oubre won’t play on Wednesday, but head coach Nick Nurse isn’t ruling out the possibility that Oubre could be back in action on Friday, tweets Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports. Oubre, who hasn’t played since November 10 after being struck by a vehicle, took part in contact drills in practice on Tuesday.

Eastern Notes: Randle, Johnson, Jaquez, Bouknight

After averaging 25.1 points per game on a .459/.343/.757 shooting slash line and earning a third-team All-NBA berth last season, Knicks forward Julius Randle got off to a very slow start in 2023/24, averaging just 13.7 points in his first six games, with an abysmal .271/.225/.618 shooting line.

Multiple sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Post that Randle, who dealt with a couple left ankle sprains late in 2022/23 which later required arthroscopic surgery, was playing through ankle pain during that tough stretch and refused the team’s requests to rest.

He’s too proud to sit,” a source told Bondy.

However, Randle’s ankle recently started to feel better, which has coincided with an uptick in production — he’s averaging 25.0 points on .425/.357/.786 shooting over the past two games, both victories. As Bondy writes, the 28-year-old will have three days of rest before the Knicks play again on Sunday.

Here are a few more notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Nets forward Cameron Johnson is on the verge of returning to action after missing the past seven games with a left leg injury. He’s probable for Friday’s matchup in Boston, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Meanwhile, on the Run Your Race podcast with Theo Pinson, Johnson revisited the February trade that sent him from Phoenix to Brooklyn, as Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily relays.
  • First-round pick Jaime Jaquez is earning an increased role with the Heat, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, who notes that more playing time could be available with Tyler Herro expected to miss multiple weeks with a Grade 2 right ankle sprain. In Wednesday’s matchup with Memphis, Jaquez played the entire fourth quarter, providing the team solid defense and recording eight points on 3-of-3 shooting, including a three-pointer that sealed the win late. “I just keep trying to make him trust me more,” Jaquez said of head coach Erik Spoelstra. “Keep making him proud. Try not to mess it up. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”
  • Hornets guard James Bouknight has been cleared for basketball activities after a positive follow-up exam, per Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Bouknight, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last month, will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024 after the Hornets declined their fourth-year team option on the former lottery pick.

Hornets Exercise Mark Williams’ 2024/25 Option, Decline Bouknight’s

The Hornets are exercising their 2024/25 rookie scale team option on center Mark Williams, but will decline James Bouknight‘s fourth-year option for the same season, reports Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

The decision on Williams was a given. The 15th pick in the 2022 draft, he emerged as Charlotte’s starting center down the stretch of his rookie season and has carried over that role to 2023/24. Through three games this season, Williams is averaging 11.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per night.

Williams’ $4,094,280 salary for 2024/25 is now fully guaranteed. The Hornets will have to decide a year from now on his $6,276,531 team option for ’25/26.

It’s far rarer for rookie scale team options to be declined, but it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that Charlotte will pass on Bouknight’s $6,064,496 salary for ’24/25.

The 23-year-old, who was drafted 11th overall in 2021, has failed to establish himself as a regular rotation player in Charlotte through two NBA seasons, averaging 5.1 points per game on .353/.316/.770 shooting in 65 appearances (12.6 MPG).

Bouknight has also had some legal troubles since becoming a Hornet and is currently recovering from surgery to repair a meniscus injury in his left knee, so he didn’t get an opportunity in the preseason to show he deserves a longer look in Steve Clifford‘s rotation this fall.

The option decision on Bouknight means he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2024. The Hornets – or whichever team has Bouknight on its roster at season’s end – won’t be able to offer him a starting salary that exceeds his declined option salary of $6,064,496, though rival suitors would have the ability to go higher. Barring a major turnaround from the former UConn standout, those higher offers seem unlikely to materialize.

As our tracker shows, the Hornets only picked up one of their three 2024/25 rookie scale team options. Kai Jones‘ option was also turned down when he was waived by Charlotte earlier this month, meaning neither of the team’s 2021 first-rounders will finish his rookie contract.

Hornets’ James Bouknight To Undergo Left Knee Surgery

Hornets guard James Bouknight will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday to address a meniscus injury in his left knee, the team announced in a press release.

The third-year guard suffered the injury on Thursday during a training camp practice. Bouknight will be reevaluated in four weeks.

It’s a huge setback for the 2021 lottery pick out of UConn, who has disappointed during his first two NBA seasons. He appeared in just 34 games last season off the bench after seeing action in 31 games as a rookie. He’s averaged 5.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 12.6 minutes per game during his two-year career.

Bouknight came to camp without a clear role. He’s not guaranteed any money beyond this season. The Hornets must decide this month whether to pick up their $6MM rookie scale option on Bouknight for the 2024/25 campaign.

That seems even more unlikely now that he won’t be available at the start of this season.

Injury Notes: Bogdanovic, Achiuwa, Smart, Bouknight, Nembhard

Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic has sustained a low-grade right calf strain, the Pistons announced today (Twitter link via James L. Edwards III of The Athletic).

While there’s no indication that Bogdanovic’s availability for the start of the regular season is up in the air, he’ll miss the start of the team’s preseason and will be reevaluated in one week, according to the Pistons.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Addressing Precious Achiuwa‘s left groin strain on Saturday, Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic referred to the injury as “minor” and indicated the team is playing it safe with the big man. As Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca tweets, it doesn’t sound like the injury will keep Achiuwa on the shelf for long.
  • Grizzlies guard Marcus Smart is dealing with some minor abdominal soreness, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal, who tweets that the club is being cautious with Smart and that he’s not expected to miss any regular season time as a result of the injury.
  • Hornets guard James Bouknight has been diagnosed with a left knee sprain, per the team (Twitter link). The severity of the injury isn’t yet known, but it’s a discouraging start to the fall for Bouknight, who isn’t a sure thing to have his $6MM rookie scale team option for 2024/25 picked up this month.
  • Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard, who is recovering after having a kidney stone removed, won’t travel with the club on its two-game road trip to open the preseason, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, J. Richardson, D. Robinson, Gallinari

Restricted free agent P.J. Washington and the Hornets remain at an impasse in contract negotiations and there have been “no indications” of that changing anytime soon, league sources tell Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Boone examines the team’s roster and depth chart entering the 2023/24 season, writing that No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller projects to come off the bench behind veterans Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward.

Assuming Washington is on the roster, he’ll have the inside track for the starting power forward position, with Miles Bridges suspended for the first 10 games. However, Boone wonders if the Hornets will eventually pivot to Bridges if they get off to a slow start.

2021 first-round picks James Bouknight and Kai Jones will likely find minutes tough to come by, Boone adds.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Appearing at the Heat‘s youth camp on Wednesday, returning swingman Josh Richardson said Damian Lillard is the best player he’s played against, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel relays. Lillard’s status, of course, has been one of the primary stories of the offseason, as the longtime Trail Blazers star requested a trade to Miami. Richardson, a free agent signee, said his game is malleable and he’s ready for whatever role he’s given. “I mean, you know how (head coach Erik Spoelstra) Spo is, he’s kind of like, ‘I can put you out there and do anything,’” Richardson said of not sweating how the roster or his role ultimately could shake out. “So it’s kind of what I’m good at. I’m kind of a jack of all trades. Our talk was good before, but I’ll guess we’ll see more concrete once the games get started.”
  • In a subscriber-only mailbag for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman notes that while losing Max Strus‘ shooting could make Duncan Robinson more valuable to the Heat, the latter certainly isn’t irreplaceable. Robinson’s name has popped up in trade rumors for several months and he could be used as a salary-matching piece in a possible Lillard deal.
  • Wizards forward Danilo Gallinari, who was acquired from Boston as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade, says he’s looking forward to competing against the Celtics next season, according to Daniel Donabedian of Clutch Points. “I can’t wait to play against Boston,” Gallinari said on the Italian A Cresta Alta podcast. “When the schedule will be unveiled, I’ll put an X on the games we will play at Boston against the Celtics.” Gallinari grew up idolizing Celtics legend Larry Bird and hoped to win a title in Boston, but missed all of last season after tearing his ACL last year.

Hornets Notes: Washington, Bouknight, Jones, Martin

The situation surrounding Hornets forward P.J. Washington has been “amazingly quiet,” Marc Stein states in his latest Substack chat. With nearly a month elapsed since free agency began, Washington remains the most prominent player without a new contract and there’s little indication that the impasse will be resolved soon.

Washington is restricted, so Charlotte can match any offer sheet he might receive, but free agency money dried up weeks ago. No one has the resources to offer him a contract starting at more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception of about $12.4MM without working out a sign-and-trade. Stein speculates that Washington may decide to accept the Hornets’ $8.5MM qualifying offer and test the market again next summer when he’s unrestricted.

That same theory is floated by Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, who notes that threatening to take the QO is the only way Washington can gain any leverage in negotiations. Like Stein, Boone reports that everything appears to be “status quo,” but cautions that doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made behind the scenes.

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • There’s no clear path to playing time for either James Bouknight or Kai Jones, Boone adds in the same piece. The selection of Brandon Miller with the No. 2 pick in the draft creates another obstacle for Bouknight, who hasn’t made a significant impression during his first two NBA seasons. Another wing player may have to be injured for Bouknight to get a shot at rotation minutes. As for Jones, he’s third on the depth chart behind Mark Williams, a first-round pick last year, and Nick Richards, who recently signed a three-year, $15MM extension. Boone states that coach Steve Clifford doesn’t like using three centers, so there doesn’t seem to be a role for Jones.
  • The Hornets may be in the market for a ball-handling guard after Dennis Smith Jr. signed with the Nets, according to Boone. He notes that there’s no one on the roster who would be a natural backup to LaMelo Ball, so that role would likely go to Terry Rozier, which would push his minutes above where the team wants them to be.
  • It’s encouraging that Cody Martin hasn’t undergone surgery for the knee issues that limited him to seven games last season, Boone adds. However, he points out that the Hornets won’t know how Martin’s knee will hold up until he resumes playing a regular schedule. The small forward has three seasons left on his four-year, $31MM contract.