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Brooklyn Nets trade Mason Plumlee, pick up two rookies

The Brooklyn Nets trade Mason Plumlee to the Blazers in a draft day deal.Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets trade Mason Plumlee to the Blazers in a draft day deal.

The Nets did a little reshuffling at the draft Thursday, dealing Mason Plumlee and their second-round pick to Portland for rookie forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and veteran guard Steve Blake.

The agreement signaled the end of an up-and-down two-year run for Plumlee, the First-Team All-Rookie selection, whose downfall in Brooklyn was his inability to play next to Brook Lopez.

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The Nets, as a result, had two late first-round picks at Thursday’s draft — Hollis-Jefferson at No. 23, and forward Chris McCullough with their own pick at No. 29.

Included in the package to Portland was Pat Connaughton, the Notre Dame product who was chosen by the Nets with the 41st pick. Connaughton is also a pitcher who was drafted by the Orioles. GM Billy King, typically busy on draft night, also dealt two future second-round picks to Charlotte for Argentina’s Juan Valuet, a 19-year-old forward who was chosen 39th Thursday night.

Hollis-Jefferson, a 6-7 forward who attended Arizona, is a versatile wing defender who is not much of an offensive threat. He classified his contributions as “extraness.”

“I bring a lot of intensity, energy, athleticism,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “Just the things that teams need, that spark off the bench or if I do start, whatever the case may be. All teams need that extraness.”

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The Nets had hopes of moving up higher to nab a point guard to ultimately replace Deron Williams. They instead got two forwards in the first round — although one may not be able to play much next season.

McCullough, a Bronx product who said he grew up rooting for the Knicks, tore his ACL in January during his freshman season at Syracuse, ending his college career after just 16 games.

Wearing a Brooklyn Nets hat at the podium Thursday night — after a small group of Nets fans cheered the selection at Barclays Center — McCullough said he started running and jumping three months ago. He was cautious about returning for the NBA season, which begins in late October.

“If I’m not 100%,” he said, “I’m not going to rush it.”

McCullough is an unknown because of the injury, and the Nets felt it was worth the risk for a player once rated as a top-10 prospect in his high school class.

Despite being unable to participate at any of the predraft workouts, McCullough interviewed with Lionel Hollins at the combine. Apparently he left a good impression.

“I think we connected,” McCullough said on Thursday. “Once we got in the room together we connected. He gave me life lessons, so basically that’s the main thing right there.”

Plumlee, who is headed to a Portland team in transition (LaMarcus Aldridge is reportedly leaving and Nicolas Batum was traded), tweeted out his thanks to the Nets before the news broke.

The 22nd pick of the 2013 draft, Plumlee averaged 8.1 points and 5.4 boards in 152 games with the Nets. 

Tags:
mason plumlee ,
rondae hollis-jefferson ,
steve blake ,
chris mccullough ,
nba draft

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