The Wizards went into the trade deadline intent on making their bench better, and they were more aggressive than usual as they brought in two solid players from the Brooklyn Nets in Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough on good flexible contracts but had to ship out what likely will be a late first-round 2017 draft pick and two non-rotation players in Andrew Nicholson and Marcus Thornton.
Nicholson signed a four-year, $26 million deal but couldn't stay in coach Scott Brooks' rotation. Expected to be Markieff Morris' backup at power forward, he only appeared in 28 of 55 games games and posted averages of 2.5 points, 1.2 rebounds, 39% field-goal shooting and 19% three-point shooting in 8.3 minutes.
Thornton was in the rotation early and even started once when Bradley Beal was out. But he was so erratic that Brooks opted for rookie Sheldon McClellan despite him being raw and thrust into duty earlier than anticipated.
Thornton was on a one-year veteran minimum contract after re-signing in the summer. He averaged 6.6 points in 33 appearances but after a disastrous start to 2017, in losses at the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, Thornton disappeared. Brooks hadn't used him since, a stretch of 21 consecutive games without a minute on the court.
He's a 6-8 small forward in his third NBA season. He averages 14.2 points and shot 35.7% from three-point range on a nine-win team in Brooklyn. His efficiency should improve now that he's playing with better pieces around him in John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Given how problematic Otto Porter's right hip can be, Bogdanovic also is more than capable as a starter. The Wizards have flourished when they've gone to small-ball lineups. How this cuts into Kelly Oubre's time, if at all, is unknown. They're two different players.
Plus Bogdanovic is on a good contract that pays $3.6 million in the final year of his three-year deal. The risk is that there's no long-term committment but the Wizards made this move, CSNmidatlantic.com was told, with "an eye toward the future." Meaning, they're optimistic that they can re-sign him. Because they gave up a first-round pick, they're almost obligated to do so to make it worth the expense.