Grading the trade for the Dallas Mavericks
There aren't many better realistic trades for the Mavericks to make ahead of the trade deadline compared to this one. Dallas has been extremely reluctant to part with young assets as aforementioned, and they give up as little as possible from that perspective in this trade with Charlotte.
P.J. Washington is only 25 years old and has the potential to be the third-best player on the Mavericks if this trade were to occur. Washington has flashed uncanny scoring and defensive ability at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, but he's regressed handily from last season on offense as he's averaging 12.6 points per game on 43.4/33.2/74.6 shooting splits this season.
Washington's struggles can be attributed to the lack of cohesion within the Hornets lineup to an extent though, as there are a lot of young players in Charlotte who want the ball in their hands to make a play. Washington has also came off the bench some this season, and you'd have to think that he can only be bought in so much to the Hornets' organization after four losing seasons in Charlotte.
Ultimately, Washington's morale would likely be much higher in Dallas so that could potentially bring out a much different player on both sides of the ball than we've seen in Charlotte, but only time would tell.
Even if Washington remained the same commodity that he is currently, adding an athletic and stout rim protector in Richards would be a huge win for the Mavericks, and Richards can provide rim-rolling and rebounding behind Lively II as well. Richards is currently averaging 9.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game this season.
Potential starting lineup for the Dallas Mavericks: Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic, Josh Green, P.J. Washington, Dereck Lively II
The Mavericks wouldn't dispel as many assets for Washington as they would have for a star level power forward such as Jerami Grant or Pascal Siakam, and they still get a backup center as well, so there aren't many downsides to this trade. Parting with their first-round pick as well as Hardy would be tough, but the Mavericks would still have first-round picks available to trade in the not-too-distant future this summer. Dallas fulfills their most essential team needs without giving up any of their top eight rotation players, so they get an A in this one.