With September about to begin, many teams around the NBA are filling the last couple of roster spots they may have open with players willing to accept minimum contracts. For PJ Washington and the Charlotte Hornets, this was not the case, as they recently agreed to a three-year, $48 million contract.

Washington, who entered the offseason as a restricted free agent, had been seeking a long-term deal that would pay him at least $15 million per season. He was overlooked at the start of free agency due to the fact that the Hornets could match any offer sheet he potentially signed and as rival teams spent their available cap space elsewhere, Washington's market slimmed down dramatically.

The Hornets understood that they could not let a player of Washington's talent leave for nothing, which is why they were prepared to match any offer that came his way this offseason. Ultimately, the two sides were able to come to an agreement on this new three-year contract, one that contains some interesting and unique language.

While most NBA contracts increase in salary on a year-to-year basis, this deal is front-loaded. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, Washington's first-year salary will be in the ballpark of $16.8 million and it will decline to $15.5 million for the 2024-25 season, followed by $14.2 million for the 2025-26 season.

There is also an incentive and bonus structure the former first-round pick will be looking to reach. The 25-year-old forward will make an extra $500,000 should he appear in at least 74 games and play at least 2,400 total minutes over the course of the season. This past year, he played in a career-high 73 games with Charlotte, totaling 2,380 minutes.

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It is also worth noting that no options are included in this agreement, meaning Washington will be under contract with the Hornets through the 2025-26 season. Charlotte now has eight players with contracts that run through the next three seasons, but the contracts of Cody Martin and Nick Richards are non-guaranteed in the final year.

Contrary to laying low and not being big spenders in the offseason, the Hornets prioritized allocating funds to their young core. Washington received a new, long-term deal and All-Star guard LaMelo Ball received a five-year extension that could eclipse $260 million. The team also brought back Miles Bridges on a one-year contract after he sat out the entirety of the 2022-23 season due to domestic violence charges.

For the first time in what seems like a while, the Hornets now have a sense of direction with the core they have begun building. However, this organization still has a lot of work to do in order to improve and elevate themselves into contention for a spot in the Play-In Tournament.

Washington and the Hornets will begin the 2023-24 season at home on October 25 when Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks travel to Charlotte.