NBA Rumors: Charlotte Hornets "Far Apart" In Talks With Restricted Free Agent

The Charlotte Hornets seem to be at a crossroads with restricted free agent power forward PJ Washington. According to NBA Insider Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Hornets and the four-year player are "far apart" in contract talks on a rookie extension. 

Washington's camp is apparently using as a comp, the recent four-year extension signed by Detroit Pistons' power forward/center Isaiah Stewart, which was 4-years, $64M.

After distant negotiations prior to Summer League, the early word among league personnel suggested Washington and Charlotte were far apart on a four-year deal structure typical for such an extension. Washington has not drawn an offer from the Hornets that reaches Stewart’s salary figure, sources said, of $16 million per season.

                                                                        —Jake Fischer, Yahoo Sports 

Fellow Insider Marc Stein says Washington is looking for at least $18M per season, while Fischer has even reported that the Hornets' big man might be looking for as much as $20M/year.  

The problem for Washington is that other teams are limited to offering a maximum of four years, $50M (around the mid-level exception of $12M+ per season), so there's no reason for the Hornets to go much above that price. 

Except for the fact, says Fischer, that he could simply accept the qualifying offer, and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. That's already the course that another Hornets' big man, Miles Bridges, has decided to take. Could the team afford to risk losing both big men for nothing next summer? 

Washington averaged a career-high 15.7 points this past season, with 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists. His long-range shooting declined, though, to 34.8% from a previous career mark of over 37%. 

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