NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hello, Chris McCullough. Goodbye, Mason Plumlee.
The Brooklyn Nets parted ways with Plumlee after selecting McCullough, a 6-foot-10 forward from Syracuse, with the 29th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Plumlee — the team’s first-round pick in 2013 — played in all 82 games last season, averaging 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds. He became expendable when the Nets took McCullough, and the rights to the No. 41 pick overall, Notre Dame swingman Pat Connaughton, were traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for veteran guard Steve Blake and the rights to first-round draft pick (No. 23 overall) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of Arizona. The 6-7 Hollis-Jefferson played two seasons with the Wildcats and averaged 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds. Blake averaged 4.3 points and 3.6 assists in 81 games last season.
The Nets also sent two future second-round draft picks to the Charlotte Hornets for the rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet, the 39th overall pick. Vaulet, a guard, played with Bahia Basket in Argentina last season.
McCullough was off to a great start with the Orange when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Florida State in early January. He started all 16 games he played and averaged 9.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.
The rehabilitation from the knee surgery is still going on for McCullough, who wasn’t able to participate in the Combine when possible draft picks are put through workouts by the teams.
“The main thing that stuck out to me was in the interview process, because I couldn’t play in the Combine,” said McCullough, who was greeted by Nets coach Lionel Hollins shortly after the pick was announced. “So nobody could see me play. So my interview was pretty good, he said, and that’s what got them to pick me.”
The draft was held Thursday night at Barclays Center, the Nets’ home court. There was some very positive reaction from one group of Nets fans when McCullough’s name was announced but there wasn’t much cheering overall when the pick was announced.
“Just a good feeling to finally hear my name get called and walk on the stage,” McCullough, a native of The Bronx, said. “It’s my hometown. It’s a good feeling.”
McCullough has no plans to rush his recovery in any way.
“I should be able to play by November,” he said. “I’m not going to rush it. I’m just waiting my time, that’s it.”
The Nets would have had the 15th pick but they had to swap picks with Atlanta in the deal for Joe Johnson.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)