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Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Chris McCullough can keep roster spot

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Chris McCullough can keep roster spot

The player who is the most difficult to gauge going into the 2017-18 season for the Wizards is Chris McCullough, who spent most of his sophomore season in D-League and only appeared in two NBA games after he was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets.

McCullough can be easily forgotten because he was a throw-in for the trade that brought Washington bench scoring in Bojan Bogdanovic.

There was no expectation that he'd be an immediate contributor. The Wizards' plan was to develop him and see what they have for the following season. A first-round pick in 2015, the third and fourth years of his contract are team options.

[RELATED: Pacers may have no choice but to trade Paul George]

The skinny: 2.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 50% FG shooting; 14.3% threes; 16 appearances.

Best game: Nov. 14. It came when he was still a member of the Brooklyn Nets, making 6 of 9 shots for a season-high 13 points, three rebounds and two blocks in just 12 minutes (also a season-high) in a 32-point loss vs. the L.A. Clippers.  

Weak spots: He has to get physically stronger and develop three-point range, which is where he's going to make his living if he sticks in the NBA. McCullough only has attempted 41 in his career, making 14 (34%).

Fixes: McCullough has to work on his shot which is the easiest area to improve quickly. With his length (6-9, 7-3 wingspan) he can get looks. 

Next step: He'll be at Las Vegas summer league next month with a chance to play significantly. In past years it was Otto Porter and then Kelly Oubre as the feature players on the summer league teams. Who is it this year? Sheldon Mac, Daniel Ochefu or McCullough? He can establish himself here before going into training camp in September. And the Wizards also hold the option on his contract so there's pressure on him to show progress.

More Wizards season reviews...

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Kelly Oubre can reverse late-season slide

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Daniel Ochefu can solidify his spot

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Tomas Satoransky can earn more time

Deeper dive into Wizards' offseason: How Sheldon Mac can play way into rotation

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Will the Cavs-Celtics trade involving Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas affect the Wizards' chances at all?

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Will the Cavs-Celtics trade involving Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas affect the Wizards' chances at all?

The Cavaliers and Celtics pulled off one of the biggest NBA trades in years, if not decades, on Tuesday night, one that features two All-Star point guards in Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, a very good player in Jae Crowder, a 2016 first round pick in Ante Zizic and an unprotected 2019 Nets first round pick that could be the key to Cleveland's dreaded life after LeBron James.

Boston and Cleveland entered this offseason as the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, so naturally this should affect the Wizards and other teams in the Eastern Conference a great deal, right? Maybe not.

In fact, this could have little effect on the rest of the East whatsoever, at least in the short-term. That's because both teams got good value back for 2017-18, but neither made a significant leap when it comes to their chances of winning the title next June.


Yes, All-Star point guards in Irving and Thomas switched sides, and in Crowder the Cavs now have a physical defender who gives opponents fits on the perimeter. That could help the Cavs in the East and if they match up with the Warriors in the NBA Finals once again.

But the Cavs were already going to be very good and before this trade remained the odds-on favorites to win the East. They now remain the favorites and may have taken a slight step forward, as long as Thomas recovers well from the hip injury that ended his 2016-17 season.

In Irving, the Celtics get a guy with an extra year on his contract. He's four years younger than Thomas and isn't currently dealing with an injury. They have to feel good about that, plus they don't lose much in Crowder, given he plays small forward. Even without Crowder, they could have the most depth at that position in the NBA when you factor in Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jalen Brown and Marcus Morris. As good as Crowder is, he could have been fighting for minutes in that group.

If the Wizards are to take a step forward or backward in the East, it will likely have nothing to do with this trade. They are counting on improving from within with a core of young players now signed to long-term contracts.

[RELATED: Ranking the top point guards in the NBA]

Overall, the Wizards' odds against the Cavs and Celtics will probably be determined by other things unrelated to this trade, like if LeBron James truly begins his decline or if the Celtics losing Avery Bradley in a previous deal will hurt their ability to stop John Wall and Bradley Beal. 

That last point could be the determining factor in whether the Wizards can leapfrog either the Cavs or Celtics. Boston lost their best answer to what is arguably the best backcourt in the East. 

This trade could, if anything, just make things more interesting for Washington fans. Now the Wizards-Celtics rivalry can center around the debate about which All-Star point guard and former No. 1 pick is better: Wall or Irving? And with the Cavs, the Wizards now have a guy in Crowder who has been a true enemy for years. That matchup just got more intriguing.

The East could be more fun next year due to this trade, but don't expect the odds in Vegas to change much at all because of it.




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Cavs trade Kyrie Irving to Celtics for Isaiah Thomas and others in blockbuster deal

Cavs trade Kyrie Irving to Celtics for Isaiah Thomas and others in blockbuster deal

The Cavs and Celtics have pulled off one of the biggest trades the NBA has seen in years, a blockbuster deal that will send Kyrie Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 unprotected first round pick. The final deal was reported by Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Whew, where do we start? First of all, this is the top two teams in the East, teams that met in the conference finals this spring, trading All-Star point guards for each other. It's not often you see that.

For the Celtics, they will have Irving for at least the next two seasons under his current contract. Considering Thomas' deal runs up after this year, that's good news for them.


That said, this is an unbelievable haul for the Cavs. Not only do they remain very good in the short-term with Thomas stepping in to fill the same role Irving did, but they get deeper with Crowder and set themselves up extremely well long-term with the Nets' pick. The Nets were the worst team in basketball this past season, the odds of them still being very bad two years from now seem good. The Cavs are in good position now even if LeBron James leaves next summer, knowing they have an extra first round pick that could be a top selection.

The first game of the NBA season, by the way, is Celtics at Cavs on Oct. 17. That should be a good one.

For the rest of the Eastern Conference, teams like the Wizards, it's hard to draw major conclusions from this deal. The Cavs were the best team in the East and have a good chance of remaining the top dogs. The Celtics gave up a lot, but they also added other pieces this offseason with Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum. Only time will tell if either got signifincatly better or worse.

Cleveland, however, does look much better off in the long run. That could affect how some view James' future, as many have speculated about whether this will be his final season with the Cavs. Now they appear to have a very sound long-term plan.

This trade will send shockwaves throughout the NBA, but may not affect the standings in the Eastern Conference very much. Still, it's a big one.