WASHINGTON (AP) The Washington Wizards added scoring punch to their bench on the eve of the trade deadline, acquiring swingman Bojan Bogdanovic from the Brooklyn Nets.
Washington also got forward Chris McCullough in the deal and sent a lottery-protected 2017 first-round pick, Marcus Thornton and Andrew Nicholson to Brooklyn. The Wizards announced the trade Wednesday night.
Bogdanovic, 27, averaged a career-high 14.2 points a game as a starter for the struggling Nets. He will add depth to the Wizards, who are in third place in the Eastern Conference.
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”Bojan is a very good shooter and a talented overall scorer whose versatility gives us an added dimension as we gear up for the stretch run,” general manager Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement. ”He is a proven starter that will provide us an added boost off the bench and allow us to be creative with our lineups.”
With the addition of Bogdanovic, a pending restricted free agent, Washington continues its push to challenge the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics in the East. The Wizards have won 18 of their past 21 games and surged up the standings after a slow start under new coach Scott Brooks.
”I like where we are as a team, but we’re not satisfied,” Brooks said. ”We’re not just going to be happy with what we’ve done in the first half. We want to come out and play good basketball throughout the season.”
It’s the second consecutive season the Wizards traded their first-round pick at the deadline after acquiring power forward Markieff Morris from the Phoenix Suns in 2016. Morris is a starter along with All-Star John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat, while Bogdanovic is expected to be their sixth man.
Bogdanovic is shooting 44 percent this season, including 37 percent from 3-point range. The 2011 second-round pick led the Nets with 99 3-pointers and was second on the team in scoring.
”Shooting is such a big part of the game, even more so the last few years,” Brooks said. ”The 3-point ball is powerful, and when we win that game, we’re hard to beat like a lot of teams are.”
The 6-foot-8 Bogdanovic was the leading scorer in the Olympics, averaging 25.3 points to lead Croatia to a surprising berth in the quarterfinals as the top seed from its group.
Beal, who calls Bogdanovic ”Bo,” said he’s excited about the acquisition.
”Strong guy, can post up, he can shoot 3s, can put the ball on the floor and can guard too and is pretty good at rebounding and back-door cutting,” Beal said after practice Wednesday. ”I love his aggressiveness. He plays with confidence.”
The deal gives the Nets a second pick in the first round, though they will lose their shot at what could be the No. 1 overall selection since they gave the Boston Celtics the right to swap picks this year in the deal for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Nets will get the Celtics’ pick.
McCullough has spent most of the season in the NBA Development League. The 6-foot-9 forward was the Nets’ first-round pick in 2015 but was delayed in starting his career as he recovered from knee surgery in his lone season at Syracuse.
Grunfeld called McCullough an ”intriguing prospect” the coaching staff will continue to develop.
The trade comes on the heels of the Raptors acquiring Serge Ibaka, but Brooks said didn’t increase the pressure on the Wizards to keep pace in the East.
”We want to keep charging ahead and keep climbing,” Brooks said. ”To win a championship, it’s going to be the hardest thing that any team has to go through to win it, but it’s not something you focus on day to day.”
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich and AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.