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Why the Wizards wanted Chris McCullough as part of Bojan Bogdanovic trade

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Why the Wizards wanted Chris McCullough as part of Bojan Bogdanovic trade

On Wednesday, the Wizards traded Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson and a lottery-protected first-round pick to Brooklyn for swingman Bojan Bogdanovic and D-League standout Chris McCullough. 

CSN Wizards Insider J. Michael has been dissecting the trade from every angle. Up next: The other player coming to D.C. in this deal.

Why Chris McCullough?

He's on a rookie contract that pays $1.2 million and his next two years are team options as a first-round pick. He's 6-11 and hasn't played much this year, but he has more upside than Nicholson.

And it gives the Wizards more flexibility with the roster spot on whether or not to invest time to develop him or move on. Marcin Gortat is 32 and Ian Mahinmi is still working his way back from procedures to both knees so having McCullough (2.5 points, 14 apperances) as a throw-in provides a safety net, too.

MORE WIZARDS: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CHRIS MCCULLOUGH

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There's a reason the Wizards had to give up a first-round pick in Bojan Bogdanovic trade

There's a reason the Wizards had to give up a first-round pick in Bojan Bogdanovic trade

On Wednesday, the Wizards traded Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson and a lottery-protected first-round pick to Brooklyn for swingman Bojan Bogdanovic and D-League standout Chris McCullough. 

CSN Wizards Insider J. Michael has been dissecting the trade from every angle. Up next: Why a first-round pick was needed to get the deal done.

Was giving up a first-round pick necessary?

Look at Andrew Nicholson's contract. In today's exploding salary cap, the final number wasn't the biggest handicap as much as it was the years on his deal. He not only occupied a roster spot but took up space that can be applied to the contract the Wizards are going to have to offer Porter now that he'll be one of the top free agents on the market (restricted).

If the Wizards finish in top 3 in the East, the pick will be in the mid-20s. This is a deep draft, but it made relinquishing the pick easier. Had this been the No. 13 pick in the 2017 draft that they gave up in 2016 for Markieff Morris that's a different issue. Last year's draft wasn't that strong especially beyond the first 10 picks. This one is. 

MORE WIZARDS: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE OTHER GUY -- CHRIS MCCULLOUGH

Why is the pick protected?

In the worst-case scenario that the Wizards implode in the final 27 games of the season despite this trade and miss the playoffs, the Nets don't get the pick. Now, that won't happen but it's better to be safe than sorry by covering your backside.

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5 things to know about the other guy in the Wizards' Bogdanovic trade, Chris McCullough

5 things to know about the other guy in the Wizards' Bogdanovic trade, Chris McCullough

The Wizards made a trade deadline move on Wednesday, as reported by CSN's J. Michael, by sending Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson and a lottery-protected first-round pick to the Brooklyn Nets for guard Bojan Bogdanovic and one other player -- forward Chris McCullough. 

While Bogdanovic will likely be an immediate contributor to the bench rotation, McCullough may be a longer-term play. Here are five things to know about the New York City native. 

1) McCullough played one season at Syracuse and left for the NBA after tearing his ACL

McCullough played in 16 games as a freshman at Syracuse in 2014-15 before a torn ACL ended his season. At the time, he was averaging 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game after coming to the Orange as the No. 19 overall player in the high school class of 2014.

2) McCullough is a 22-year-old, 6-9 power forward who has stretch potential down the line

The Nets rolled the dice on McCullough's potential by taking a player coming off a torn ACL with the 29th overall pick in the 2015 draft. He came into the league wiry thin, but has added muscle in his two years in the D-League and NBA.

3) He played in 24 games with the Nets in 2015-16

McCullough started four of those 24 games as a rookie last season for Brooklyn. He averaged 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. Interestingly enough, he played well against Washington. In two games, he averaged 11 points, four rebounds and three steals per contest. 

MORE WIZARDS: THE HISTORY OF WASHINGTON'S DEADLINE DEALS

4) He has played 31 games in the D-League this year and is tearing it up

During the 2016-17 season with the Long Island Nets, he has averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Perhaps more importantly, he shot nearly 35 percent from three-point range which could be an indication down the line that he could be a versatile, multi-dimensional stretch forward. 

With John Wall as the engine of the offense, the more players who can capitalize on his ability to collapse the defense off the dribble, the better.

5) The contract situation

With his high ceiling, McCullough is on a cheap rookie deal that is even cheaper in context considering the fact that incoming rookies will get a raise with the new CBA. His contract was guaranteed for his first and second year, with team options in the third and fourth year

Watch his highlights below: