Per multiple reports including The Vertical, The Washington Post, and CSN Mid-Atlantic, the Washington Wizards have acquired Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson, and a 2017 first-round pick that is lottery protected. The lottery protection means that the Wizards will keep the pick should they miss the 2017 NBA playoffs, which is unlikely as they are currently nine games clear of the ninth seed Milwaukee Bucks.
Hoop District has been told over the past few weeks by team sources that the Wizards would look to upgrade their mediocre bench and they have done just that less than 24 hours before the trade deadline set for Thursday, February 23 at 3 p.m. ET.
The main part of the deal is acquiring the 27-year old Bogdanovic who is in his third year in the NBA after playing overseas. The 6-foot-8 wing can play shooting guard and power forward but has predominantly spent time as the Nets’ small forward during the 2016-17 season. In nearly 27 minutes of play per game, Bogdanovic is putting up career highs in points (14.2), rebounds (3.6), and assists (1.6) while shooting 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. That number will likely go up if he shares time on the court with John Wall who his teammates have credited with him passing them open.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 9, 2017
The major asset lost for Washington is the 2017 first-round pick, which although may be in the mid-twenties, could be thought of as the equivalent of a teens pick because of how loaded their year’s class is. However, the pick was likely the cost of doing business to shed the four-year, $26 million contract of Andrew Nicholson who quickly fell out of Washington’s rotation for an outdated game in the low-post. General manager Ernie Grunfeld’s miss on Nicholson last summer is the reason why this deal needed to be made. Washington will be around the luxury tax line next season as Otto Porter will likely be paid the max or close to it in his second NBA contract.
A bonus for the Wizards was also acquiring Chris McCullough, a 22-year old big, in his second season out of Syracuse.
McCullough was the 29th ovreall pick in 2015 but his stock would have been higher if he was not recovering from an ACL injury. Last season, McCullough started four games, two of which were against Washington where he combined to score 22 points. McCullough has been on multiple D-League stints this season where he is averaging an impressive 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and nearly two assists in under 32 minutes per game. The big is also shooting a nice clip from beyond the arc at 34.7 percent and averaging over one make per game. That being said, McCullough likely joins Sheldon Mac, Danuel House, and Daniel Ochefu as projects for Scott Brooks and his staff instead of an immediate contributor.
With Washington close to the luxury tax, which owner Ted Leonsis will likely not want to exceed, McCullough’s cheap contract of $1.2 million next year as well as a $2.2 million club option the following year is a good thing.
The move indicates the Wizards are all in for this year and it very well may be Eastern Conference Finals or bust as they are depriving themselves of a first-round pick next season. Behind the starting five of Wall, Beal, Porter, Morris, and Gortat, there are potentially now six minute getters on the bench in Satoransky, Burke, Oubre, Bogdanovic, Smith, and Mahinmi. My money is that Burke gets phased out of the rotation sooner rather than later and Smith could see less playing time when the rotation gets even tighter come playoff time. The team is currently one of the hottest in the NBA and they are trying to sure up their weaknesses to keep it that way. It is impossible to evaluate a trade immediately because things pan out differently in the future, but this was neither a great nor terrible trade for Washington.