Chris McCullough

Wizards Won’t Exercise Chris McCullough’s Option

The Wizards won’t pick up their 2018/19 team option on power forward Chris McCullough, sources tell Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The decision will result in McCullough becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency next July.

McCullough, 22, was selected with the 29th overall pick in the 2015 draft and spent most of his first two NBA seasons with the Nets before being sent to Washington along with Bojan Bogdanovic in a deadline deal earlier this year.

Even in Brooklyn, on a rebuilding squad, McCullough didn’t see much playing time, with the Nets frequently assigning him to the G League for further development. The young forward’s minutes dwindled further after he joined the Wizards — he only has only played 15 total minutes in three games since arriving in D.C. in February.

While the Wizards aren’t necessarily giving up on McCullough, they’ve decided not to guarantee his 2018/19 salary, which would have added $2,243,326 to team payroll. After exercising Kelly Oubre‘s option earlier this month, Washington is currently projected to carry approximately $116MM in guaranteed salary next year, putting the club at risk of ending up in tax territory again.

Wizards Notes: Expectations, McCullough, Robinson

The moves made this offseason by the Celtics and Cavaliers – including a blockbuster trade with one another – has allowed those two clubs to dominate the conversation on Eastern Conference contenders as the 2017/18 season approaches. However, the Wizards feel as if they’re right there with the top two clubs in the East. In fact, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst writes, Bradley Beal and the Wizards think they’re the best team in the East, and believe they match up particularly well vs. the Cavs.

“We love the matchup against them and why not?” Beal said. “I said it and J.R. [Smith] didn’t like it too much, some of their other guys didn’t like it too much. But I felt that way. It’s not disrespect with them, I’m not saying we’d have won the series (if the Wizards, instead of the Celtics, had made the Eastern Conference Finals), but I feel like our competition level and matchups would’ve been better.”

As the Wizards head into a new season with increased expectations, let’s round up a few more notes out of D.C.

  • Third-year forward Chris McCullough, acquired from the Nets last season, is battling for minutes in the Wizards’ rotation, and head coach Scott Brooks has been impressed, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details. “He’s a better shooter than I thought,” Brooks said of McCullough. “He hasn’t played much the last few years, but he’s having a good camp. I think that’s through the hard work that he’s put in. He came into camp in great shape. He’s showing us that he can play in the league. I don’t know where I can find him the minutes, but at least I know he can definitely play.”
  • With Markieff Morris at risk of being convicted on assault charges, which would result in an NBA suspension, the Wizards have been keeping a close eye on their power forwards during their first week back, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Veteran center Jason Smith is among the players seeing extra time at the four, per Buckner.
  • Wizards rookie Devin Robinson, who is on a two-way contract with the team, was in a walking boot at training camp last week, and Brooks suggests that Robinson will be out “for a while” due to a foot injury, tweets Buckner. The G League season doesn’t tip off until November 3, so Robinson has a little extra time to get healthy.
  • As we noted yesterday, the Wizards are one of four NBA teams without a G League affiliate for this season, which will have an impact on Robinson, Michael Young, and anyone else Washington wants to assign to the G League.

Wizards Notes: Bogdanovic, Oubre, Burke, Mac

Playing time will be the priority for Bojan Bogdanovic when he enters free agency this summer, relays Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic. Bogdanovic was averaging about 27 minutes per game with the Nets before a midseason trade to Washington cut that number to about 23. Bogdanovic may have to look elsewhere if he wants a larger role, particularly if the Wizards are able to re-sign fellow small forward Otto Porter, who has the starting job locked down. Washington used a three-man rotation at the position after the deal, Hughes notes, with Porter, Bogdanovic and Kelly Oubre all contributing. Oubre is expected to have an expanded role next season. “I want to try to find a team where I can play heavy minutes,” Bogdanovic said. “I hope that I will play here maybe, but we will see. It’s a long summer in front of us before free agency. We’ll see.” Bogdanovic, who will represent Croatia in the European Championship this summer, added that he would like to remain on the same team with John Wall or find a point guard with similar skills.

There’s more news out of D.C.:

  • A platelet-rich plasma treatment has been prescribed for Oubre’s right knee, Hughes notes in a separate story. Oubre plans offseason workouts with teammate Bradley Beal, and possibly Wall, in hopes of becoming a better ballhandler.
  • The minutes totals for the starters in the Game 7 loss to the Celtics emphasizes the need to build a stronger bench, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Wall and Beal barely came out of Monday’s game, while Markieff Morris played nearly 42 minutes and Porter was close to 40. Buckner cites point guard as an area where important decisions must be made, with backups Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings both headed toward free agency. Burke fell behind rookie Tomas Satoransky in the rotation, then dropped out completely once Jennings was signed. Burke expressed frustration with the way things worked out and sounded ready to move on. “I don’t plan on my role being the same next year,” he said. “My agency is working very hard for me right now. I know what type of player I can be and I know what type of player I want to be. That’s not my plan. This summer, it’ll be great. I’m looking forward to the summer.”
  • The Wizards will take a closer look at three young prospects this offseason, Buckner adds in the same piece. Shooting guard Sheldon Mac and big men Daniel Ochefu and Chris McCullough will all be part of Washington’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. Mac, who changed his name from McClellan at midseason, has the best chance of the three to crack the rotation next year, according to Buckner, but his $1.3MM contract for 2017/18 in non-guaranteed.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/3/17

Here are the D-League transactions for Friday:

  • The Pelicans have assigned forward Cheick Diallo to the D-League, the team reports in a press release on its website. Diallo has averaged 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 18 contests with the Greensboro Swarm.
  • The Pistons have recalled rookies Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije from their D-League affiliate, Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Ellenson and Gbinije have seen action in 14 and nine games for the Pistons respectively.
  • The Wizards have assigned center Chris McCullough to the D-League, writes Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. McCullough has averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 31 D-League contests this season. Having previously played for the Long Island Nets, McCullough is expected to join the Northern Arizona Suns on this assignment, says Hughes.

Nets Notes: Lopez, Lin, Dinwiddie, Nicholson, McDaniels

Nets GM Sean Marks spoke to the press about Brooklyn’s trade deadline activity. While the team held onto Brook Lopez and Trevor Booker (each of whom have another year left on their contract), Marks was involved in a few lower-profile transactions.

“We’re very familiar with Andrew [Nicholson]…he’s a system fit for us,” Marks said. “He’s a stellar young man and another guy with high character and that’s exactly we’re trying to do.”

The Nets acquired Nicholson along with a first-round pick and Marcus Thornton (who was subsequently waived) in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough. Bogdanovic performed well for the 9-47 Nets, but was a restricted free agent-to-be, and was dealt for an invaluable draft pick. Marks spoke about his team’s position in the upcoming draft.

“Now having two first round picks, it all helps,” Marks said. “It helps give us another vehicle where were can be systematic with the draft and see what happens. We obviously value the draft or we wouldn’t have done it. It’s about being strategic and having two picks now gives us an opportunity to move up with those picks, you can hold them where you are if your players are there at the time.”

More from Brooklyn…

  • One of the reasons Marks held onto Lopez at the deadline was to see how well he played with Jeremy Lin, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Lin has been limited to just 13 games this season due to injury, and hasn’t had an opportunity to be properly assessed by coach Kenny Atkinson. “To have a healthy Jeremy and a healthy Brook out there together with this team, it’ll be nice to evaluate that,” Marks said. “It’s something we started the season off with, and unfortunately, we only got a handful of games under our belt seeing that. We all know what those two bring to the table: They lift everybody else’s play.”
  • Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post profiled Spencer Dinwiddie, a former collegiate star at University of Colorado Boulder. Dinwiddie suffered a torn ACL during his junior year at CU, falling to the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Still just 23 years old, Dinwiddie has averaged more than 20 MPG for the first time in his career with Brooklyn. “He’s steadily getting better,” Atkinson said of Dinwiddie. “He played pretty well before the all-star break, started shooting it better and getting to the rim. We like his defense. He’s been a pleasant surprise, quite honestly.
  • Nicholson and K.J. McDaniels– each acquired at the deadline- are ready to step in right now for the rebuilding Nets. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me,” McDaniels told Greg Logan of Newsday“I’ll be able to show Brooklyn what I do, and play both ends of the court and just try to bring energy.” McDaniels’ acquisition was commended by writers across the league. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post gave the trade an “A” grade, describing the transaction as low-risk, high-reward. “If he doesn’t do anything, the Nets can simply decline his option for next season. If he does something, then it’s found money. For a team with no talent or assets to speak of, it’s a good move to make — and saves them money to boot, as they were below the salary floor.”
  • Dan Favale of Bleacher Report echoed Bontemps’ sentiments, praising Marks for taking a flier on McDaniels. “Getting K.J. McDaniels for absolutely nothing is a great encore to parlaying Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough into Andrew Nicholson and a first-round pick,” Favale wrote. “Although McDaniels is beyond raw, he has the length and lateral gait to be a lockdown defender across all wing positions.”

Nets Trade Bojan Bogdanovic To Wizards

7:53 PM: The trade is official, according to a Nets’ press release.

3:01 PM: The Nets and Wizards have agreed to a deal that will send Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Wojnarowski had previously identified the Wizards and Kings as teams with interest in the Brooklyn sharpshooter.Bojan Bogdanovic horizontal

In exchange for Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough, who will also head to Washington in the deal, the Nets will receive Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton, and the Wizards’ 2017 first-round pick, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter links). The pick will be lottery protected, per ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link).

Bogdanovic, who will turn 28 in April, was the 31st overall pick in the 2011 draft and eventually arrived stateside to join the Nets in 2014. The 6’8″ forward is is enjoying a career year this season, with 14.2 PPG and a .357 3PT% in 55 games so far.

Although Bogdanovic is on an expiring deal, he’ll be eligible for restricted – rather than unrestricted – free agency this summer. His matching rights will now be held by the Wizards, rather than by Brooklyn, and that has some value. The Nets know first-hand that it can be difficult to steal an RFA away from another team — the club had offer sheets for Allen Crabbe, Tyler Johnson, and Donatas Motiejunas matched in 2016.

Depending on whether the Wizards want to commit to Bogdanovic beyond the 2016/17 season, they may have to worry about re-signing two key RFAs in the summer, as Otto Porter is also on track for restricted free agency.

From the Nets’ perspective, the club gets another first-round pick in what’s expected to be a deep and talented draft. That probably makes the deal a win for GM Sean Marks, even though the Wizards’ pick currently projects to fall just 24th overall, as our reverse standings show. The Nets, of course, don’t have their own first-rounder, but they’ll also get Boston’s pick, setting them up for two selections in the 20s.

As for the financial details of the trade, the Nets had been well below the salary floor, but they’ll inch about $2.3MM closer to that mark by taking on Nicholson and Thornton, who combine to earn more than $7MM. Meanwhile, the Wizards will cut costs a little by taking on Bogdanovic ($3.57MM) and McCullough ($1.19MM). Washington should also be able to create a traded player exception in the deal worth about $2.5MM.

While Bogdanovic and Thornton are free agents at season’s end, Nicholson and McCullough are controllable through the 2018/19 season. McCullough will be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of ’19, while Nicholson has a player option for the ’19/20 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/9/17

Here are Thursday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Rookie big man Diamond Stone has been recalled by the Clippers, according to Rowan Kavner of Clippers.com (via Twitter). Stone averaged 19.7 PPG in three games during his latest stint with the Salt Lake City Stars, though he also received a pair of DNP-CDs. Since the Clips don’t have a D-League team of their own, Stone has played for other teams’ affiliates this season, including Golden State’s and Utah’s.
  • Chris McCullough continues to bounce back and forth between the NBA and D-League, having been reassigned to the Long Island Nets today, the team announced in a press release. Brooklyn’s D-League affiliate isn’t in action again until Saturday, so we’ll see how long McCullough’s assignments lasts this time around.
  • We missed this announcement on Wednesday, but the Pistons have sent Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije back to the Grand Rapids Drive. Stan Van Gundy expects the duo to remain on assignment through Friday’s game, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter link).

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/8/17

Here are Wednesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

9:19 PM: 

  • The Nets have recalled McCullough, according to a team press release. He was recalled in time to suit up for the Brooklyn in tonight’s matchup against Washington.

3:47 PM:

  • The Pacers have recalled Georges Niang from their D-League affiliate, the team announced today in a press release. Niang chipped in 11 points and four rebounds for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants during Tuesday’s win.
  • Chris McCullough was assigned to the D-League this morning, according to a press release issued by the Nets. The second-year forward played for the Long Island Nets in this afternoon’s loss to Canton — we’ll see if he’s recalled to Brooklyn in time for the team’s game tonight against Washington.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/6/17

Here are Monday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the league:

2:26pm:

12:06pm:

  • The Pistons have recalled rookies Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije from the D-League, according to a press release issued by the team. The duo played a significant role in Grand Rapids’ Saturday win over the Raptors 905, with Gbinije scoring a team-high 29 points, while Ellenson added 25.
  • Speaking of the Raptors, they’ve sent point guard Delon Wright to their D-League affiliate, the team announced today (via Twitter).
  • Rookie forward Georges Niang has been assigned to the D-League by the Pacers, the team announced in a press release. Niang, who has played sparingly in 21 games for Indiana, has averaged 17.8 PPG in four games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
  • With their D-League affiliate not in action until Wednesday, the Nets have recalled Chris McCullough, per a team release. It’s already the 17th time this season that Brooklyn has recalled McCullough from Long Island.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/31/17

Here are Tuesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

6:59pm:

  • The Grizzlies have assigned Wade Baldwin to their D-League affiliate, the team announced via a press release on their official website. Baldwin has averaged 13.3 points and 5.7 assists in 26.5 minutes per game in 13 previous games for the Iowa Energy.
  • The Pistons have recalled Henry Ellenson, Darrun Hilliard and Michael Gbinije from their D-League affiliate, the team announced in a press release. In eight games with the Grand Rapids Drive this season, the rookie big man has averaged 18.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

1:33pm:

  • The Rockets have assigned rookie forward Kyle Wiltjer to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). Wiltjer had been with the NBA club for the last two and a half weeks, but has been inactive in each of Houston’s games, so he should get a chance to play with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
  • Joel Bolomboy has been sent back to the Salt Lake City Stars by the Jazz, the team said today in a press release. Bolomboy’s assignments this season generally haven’t lasted long, so the rookie will likely return to the Jazz soon.
  • The Nets have assigned Chris McCullough to the D-League, according to a press release from the team. McCullough has played sparingly for Brooklyn this season, but has been one of Long Island’s standout contributors, averaging 19.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG in 25 games.
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