C.J. McCollum trade from the Portland Trail Blazers ‘probable, if not certain’

Could a C.J. McCollum trade be in the cards for the Portland Trail Blazers? Embattled general manager Neil Olshey is under a ton of pressure to change things up.

Following a fourth first-round playoff exit in five years and the firing of head coach Terry Stotts, things need to change in the Pacific Northwest. That’s especially true with questions arising regarding the future of star point guard Damian Lillard in Portland.

More than ever before, it now looks like the Blazers are in fact going to trade C.J. McCollum this summer.

“For the first time, I believe the likelihood of McCollum being traded this summer is probable, if not certain,” Jason Quick of The Athletic noted.

Given Quick’s long tenure covering the Blazers and the respect he has around the basketball world, this is not a report we should gloss over.

McCollum, 29, is currently playing under a four-year, $106.6 million extension he signed with the Blazers back in 2019. He has three more years said on the deal.

C.J. McCollum contract breakdown

C.J. McCollum trade, Blazers
May 29, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum (3) rallies crowd to cheer after scoring against the Denver Nuggets during game four in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021-22: $30.86 million
  • 2022-23: $33.3 million
  • 2033-24: $35.8 million

Some teams might view acquiring McCollum and his contract as a net negative in terms of value. Sure he’s averaged north of 20 points per game in each of the past six seasons and is a dynamic three-point threat. But he struggles big time on defense and was one of the primary reasons for the Blazers’ issues on that end of the court. Add in his contract and age, and Portland might not get fair-market value.

C.J. McCollum trade options

McCollum for Ben Simmons is being float about by some executives within the NBA world. It could make sense for both sides given that Simmons would provide Portland an All-NBA Defensive Team performer to team up with Lillard.

As for the Philadelphia 76ers, they are coming off a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and could opt to move Simmons.

Teammate Joel Embiid threw the point guard under the bus following an ugly Game 7 loss to Atlanta in the series. Meanwhile, Simmons’ reps have already discussed a trade with Philadelphia’s brass.

c.j. mccollum for ben simmons trade
Dec 30, 2018; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum (3) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) during the third quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The idea of acquiring a lethal perimeter shooter in C.J. McCollum to team up with Embiid has to be seen as appealing to front office head Daryl More. The contracts also work, making this deal a no-brainer from a financial perspective.

Then again, there’s this thing about value when it comes to both McCollum and Simmons. There’s really no set consensus in terms of what they might be able to bring back. An argument could be made that either Philadelphia or Portland would have to throw in sweeteners in a potential blockbuster deal.

What we do know is that the McCollum-Lillard pairing is tapped out in the Pacific Northwest. Regardless of who the Blazers bring in to be their next head coach, that tandem should be broken up. And despite rumors suggesting that Dame could demand a trade, it’s highly unlikely that will happen before the 2021-22 season.

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