Mavs Acquire P.J. Washington Jr. and Daniel Gafford at Trade Deadlinedfwnewsa | February 13, 2024 | 0 | Dallas News
By Rashad Miller
Before the Dallas Mavericks would face the New York Knicks, the NBA trade deadline would end at 3PM eastern standard time. The first domino to fall was when Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington Jr. was acquired along with two second round picks from Charlotte. The trade would see Mavs forward Grant Williams, guard Seth Curry, and a top two protected 2027 first-round pick go to the Hornets.
Mavericks General Manager Nico Harrison would address the media about the trades during halftime of the Mavericks and Knicks matchup. He started off by thanking Seth Curry and Grant Williams for their professionalism and their short stints with the Mavericks this season. Harrison would acknowledge that both players “didn’t get a lot of opportunities” due to the guard-heavy roster and head coach Jason Kidd’s decision to move Grant Williams to the bench for Dante Exum quarter way into this season before Exum would injure his right knee.
Curry would only average a little over 12 minutes during his third stint with the Mavs and would average 4.3 points while Williams would average a little over 26 minutes, but his shooting dwindled over the last couple of months of this injury ridden season. Both players would choose to join Dallas in the offseason and were representatives of the Mavericks in the community despite their performances on the court whether it was winter clothing drives or participating in basketball clinics with young athletes.
Another trade would see Mavs center Richaun Holmes going to the nation’s capital in exchange for Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford and a 2024 first-round pick via a trade with the Thunder when they swapped 2028 first-round picks to obtain the aforementioned pick. The former Arkansas Razorback is currently number one in field goal percentages this season. Nico Harrison exclaimed how Gafford would bring “big time rim protection and depth to [the Mavs’] frontcourt” and how he can imagine “[Gafford] and Luka on the pick and roll”.
After the Mavericks returned home after going 3-0 on their three game road trip out east, the new Mavs were introduced to the media alongside the Mavericks general manager. P.J. Washington Jr., who is a Dallas native, said that playing for the Mavericks, “comes full circle for me” and that “growing up here as a kid, I’ve always wanted to play here, so just being here and just it’s been a dream come true and I’m just excited to get started”.
The Mavericks front office are putting pieces around their All-Star guard Luka Doncic that not only play to his skill set but to his youth. Washington and Gafford are both 25 years old as they join the young group of Doncic, rookie center Dereck Lively II, Josh Green, and others. I asked the new Mavs about being a part of this group and they were “excited” to play with “a bunch of young guys that are very talented and ready to win”.
The new additions to Dallas would play their first game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, led by the young core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren. The Mavericks would dominate the Thunder in their 146-111 blow out victory. Daniel Gafford would record 19 points and 9 rebounds off the bench in his debut. Gafford’s 19 points was the second-most points off the bench in franchise history. P.J. Washington Jr. would record 14 points and 5 rebounds along with an assist and a steal.
Coach Jason Kidd would praise both Gafford and Washington after the game. “They were great… Offensively, defensively, they didn’t seem nervous. They were really good. That first quarter, I think [the Mavs] set a franchise record for 47 points in the first and I think let everyone know that everybody is comfortable and excited about having those two as a part of the team. I thought it was a great team win from start to finish.”
The Mavs fans received the new players with open arms. Daniel Gafford would say after the game that, “it felt amazing. I am pretty sure P.J. felt great also because [he was] back home, and me being so close to him. It felt like I got drafted by this team, in all honesty. It felt good stepping on the court and hearing the crowd and the cheers really fueled the energy I had throughout the game”.
P.J. Washington Jr. didn’t know that he and Gafford would adapt to the Mavericks’ pace as quickly as they did less than 48 hours of being with the team. “Everybody was telling me that I was going to get a lot of open shots, but I didn’t realize it until I was out there. Playing with Luka and Kyrie [Irving] and all those guys, they made the game a lot easier for me. They did that for Gafford too. Just being out here was great and I am just glad we got the win”.
The Mavericks play two more games before the All-Star break at home as they face the Washington Wizards, which ironically is Gafford’s former team, on Feb.12 and Rookie of the Year candidate Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 14.
Follow Rashad Miller on all social media @theuncoolurban for more sports content as well as his Youtube channel under the same name.
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