Marcus Thornton

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Report: Wizards declining fourth-year option on Chris McCullough

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Last February, wanting the Wizards’ first-round pick, the Nets agreed to trade Bojan Bogdanovic, take Andrew Nicholson’s toxic contract and accept take Marcus Thornton so Washington could stay under the roster limit.

There was just one apparent catch: The Wizards had to take Chris McCullough.

McCullough, the No. 29 pick in the 2015 draft, didn’t play much in Brooklyn – on a bad team woefully short on young talent. He has played even less in Washington.

Now, his contract will run out after this season.

Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders:

McCullough would have earned $2,243,326 next season if his option had been exercised.

He’s just 22, and he was athletic at least before hurting his ACL his final year at Syracuse. It’s not too late for McCullough, but he hasn’t displayed nearly enough feel for the game to warrant a guaranteed NBA salary – especially above the minimum.

Isaiah Thomas on Suns trading him to Celtics: “It’s like they gave me a Christmas gift”

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Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas was part of a trade in February of 2015 that sent Tayshaun Prince to the Detroit Pistons, Marcus Thornton and a 2016 1st round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns, and Thomas, Gigi Datome, and Jonas Jerebko to the Boston Celtics.

Reflecting on it two years later, with Thomas one of the most impressive elite offensive talents in the NBA, it appears to be going well for Boston.

Thomas thinks so, too.

If you’ll remember, that Phoenix team had both Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe to compete with. Thomas operated mostly from the bench at 26 minutes a night in a backup role.

Thomas is now firmly part of this year’s MVP race — although he is unlikely to surpass keystone seasons from James Harden and Russell Westbrook — and deservedly so. The Celtics guard has posted career numbers in offensive rating, VORP, win shares, and in more traditional statistics like points, field goal percentage, and 3-point shooting.

The Celtics are the No. 2 seed in the East at the moment. Meanwhile, the Suns are one spot of of last place in the West.

Report: Wizards trade first-round pick to get Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough, unload Andrew Nicholson

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John Wall has been so good, he made himself right.

The Wizards’ starters have been awesome, and their bench has been about equally bad. With Washington surging to third in the East, and the fourth-place Raptors making their move with Serge Ibaka, this was no time to idle.

So, as Wall predicted, the Wizards traded for bench helpBojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough from the Nets.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Andrew Nicholson, with three years and $19,911,007 remaining after this season, had negative value. He was part of the reason the Wizards’ bench stunk. Likewise, Marcus Thornton provided little in reserve. A 29-year-old on an expiring minimum contract, he was likely included only so Washington didn’t exceed the roster maximum of 15 players.

Essentially the Wizards traded a first-round pick for Bogdanovic, McCullough and shedding Nicholson.

Bogdanovic will provide wing scoring for a reserve unit badly in need of juice. He has been an ineffective defender, but his 6-foot-8 frame offers a path to improvement on that end.

The 27-year-old will be a restricted free agent next summer. Assuming re-signing Otto Porter is the priority, keeping Bogdanovic could push Washington into the luxury tax — likely a non-starter. This could win up just a rental, but there’s plenty of time to evaluate Bogdanovic’s (and everyone else’s) long-term fit.

The Nets drafted McCullough No. 29 in 2015 as a project, and he remains one. The 22-year-old has spent far more time in the D-League than the NBA this season. It’s unlikely he contributes this season, as lower as the bar is for the Wizards’ bench. He has two additional seasons left on his rookie-scale contract, time for Washington to figure out what it has.

Now, Brooklyn has a couple first-round picks this year — the Celtics’ and the Wizards’. That doesn’t amount to much, but the Nets are so far from relevance, getting even younger is a wise path forward.

Gortat scores 21 points as Wizards upset Hornets, 113-98

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WASHINGTON — Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 13 rebounds as the Washington Wizards defeated the Charlotte Hornets 113-98 on Sunday, damaging the Hornets’ chances to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Marcus Thornton added 16 points for the Wizards and Ramon Sessions had 15 points and 11 assists.

The Hornets (46-34) entered the game tied with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, one-half game behind the fourth-place Celtics. They play at Boston on Monday night.

Frank Kaminsky had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Kemba Walker added 16 points for the Hornets, who shot just 34.6 percent (28 of 81) from the field and committed 15 turnovers.

Washington (39-41), which was eliminated from playoff contention with Friday’s loss to Detroit, was without John Wall (sore left knee) for the third straight game, and leading scorer Bradley Beal (sore pelvis) left after playing 7:43 in the first quarter.

Walker scored nine of his points in the third quarter as Charlotte rallied from an 8-point halftime deficit. The Hornets were ahead 71-69 when Otto Porter Jr. scored the first eight points – six on 3-pointers – in a 12-0 third-quarter Wizards’ run.

Al Jefferson‘s layup capped an 8-0 spurt to pull the Hornets to within 88-84 midway through the fourth quarter. But Washington responded with a 14-2 run – including five points by Marcus Thornton and four by Gortat – to pull away.

Washington shot 52.5 percent (42 of 80) from the field, including 9 of 21 from 3-point range. Porter finished with 10 points.

The Wizards scored the first seven points of the second quarter and a 6-0 run late in the half gave them their biggest lead of the half, 53-39.

Washington shot 48.8 percent (21 for 43) before halftime, and the Hornets committed 10 turnovers.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Jeremy Lamb (strained toe) was available after missing Friday night’s game but did not play. . Entering Monday night’s game, the Hornets are 11-4 in the second game of back-to-backs.

Wizards: Split the season series with Charlotte 2-2. . Beal missed a total of four games last month with a sore pelvis. . Washington improved to 21-19 at home.

UP NEXT

Hornets: Charlotte visits Boston on Monday.

Wizards: Washington visits Brooklyn on Monday.

Report: Rockets signing Andrew Goudelock

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The Rockets cleared a couple roster spots by waiving Marcus Thornton and buying out Ty Lawson.

Houston will fill one of those vacancies with another guard: Andrew Goudelock.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Goudelock, the No. 46 pick in the 2011 draft, last played in the NBA in 2013 – though he was starting for the Lakers as they were swept by the Spurs in the first round. He reunites with Dwight Howard from that team.

Lakers fans were enamored with Goudelock, whom Kobe Bryant nicknamed “Mini-Mamba.” But Goudelock never proved to be more than a solid outside shooter.

Still, the Rockets could use one of those. They’re shooting slightly below NBA average on 3-pointers, and Goudelock could help space the floor for James Harden to drive and create.

As long as Houston isn’t relying on Goudelock to start in the playoffs, this should be fine. Heck, Goudelock might even help the Rockets make the playoffs in a crowded Western Conference.