Fresh off a disappointing first-round exit in the NBA Playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers could look to pull off a C.J. McCollum trade this summer.
Portland just moved on from long-time head coach Terry Stotts and replaced him with an inexperienced Chauncey Billups. The pressure is now on general manager Neil Olshey to change things up. Below, we look at four ideal C.J. McCollum trade scenarios.
C.J. McCollum trade to the Philadelphia 76ers
- 76ers get: C.J. McCollum, future first-round pick
- Blazers get: Ben Simmons
76ers players not named Curry hit on 34% of their three-point attempts during the playoffs. Obviously, a gun-shy Ben Simmons is not a threat outside of the low-post. This is where C.J. McCollum comes into play. The 29-year-old guard is a career 40% shooter from three-point range. He hit on 169-of-420 attempts this past season, both of which would have been second behind pending free agent Danny Green on the Sixers’ roster.
Despite being a 20-point per game scorer over the past six seasons, McCollum leaves a whole lot to be desired on defense. This past season saw him put up a defensive win shares of just 0.6 with a defensive plus-minus of -1.5. This is just not sustainable for a Blazers squad that yielded 114.3 points per game and boasted the second-worst defensive rating in the Association. A reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year finalist, Simmons would change that in a big way for Philadelphia. Front office head Daryl Morey also picks up a valuable future first-round pick to give him flexibility moving forward.
C.J. McCollum trade to the Atlanta Hawks
- Hawks get: C.J. McCollum
- Blazers get: Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter
If Portland is indeed looking at finding a way to keep Damian Lillard long-term, the team will have to find some win-now players in any C.J. McCollum trade to appease the star guard. That’s where this hypothetical trade with Atlanta comes into play. The Blazers add another perimeter threat to go with Lillard in Bogdanovic. He shot 44% from distance during the 2020-21 regular season and averaged north of 16 points per game. As for Hunter, the former No. 4 overall pick upped his game as a sophomore — averaging 15.0 points on 48% shooting. He’s also already a solid wing defender at the age of 23.
For a contending Hawks team, this could make a ton of sense. Teaming McCollum up with young star Trae Young, who has caught the attention of the NBA world during the playoffs, would make this squad a perennial contender. Financially, the Hawks would then be able to regain star big man John Collins in free agency while still being able to add free agents with a projected $19 million in cap room. It almost makes too much sense.
C.J. McCollum trade to the Los Angeles Lakers
- Lakers get: C.J. McCollum
- Blazers get: Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, first-round pick
Perhaps, Portland just opts to blow it up and start anew with Billups manning the bench. That would almost become an inevitability if Lillard were to request a trade and force himself from the Pacific Northwest. In this scenario, adding youngsters, a potential expiring contract and draft pick compensation would make sense. Kuzma is a few years removed from averaging nearly 19 points per game for Los Angeles. He’d slot in at the four and is still just 25-years-old. Horton-Tucker is a traditional two-guard to replace McCollum, and is seen among league circles as a potential building block moving forward. Meanwhile, the Blazers add a first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft to expedite their rebuild.
This would be an absolute no-brainer for the Lakers. They need that perimeter threat and shooter to go with the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis following an ugly first-round exit in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. McCollum is an absolutely perfect short-term fix for the still-defending champions. With their limited resources in terms of young players, cash and draft picks, this is probably the best these Lakers can do during the summer.
C.J. McCollum trade to the Indiana Pacers
- Pacers get: C.J. McCollum
- Blazers get: Myles Turner, T.J. Warren
Following the hiring of respected head coach Rick Carlisle, there’s now a good chance that Pacers front office head Kevin Pritchard looks to change things up a tad. The idea would be to build a much better supporting cast behind the star tandem of guard Malcolm Brogdon and big man Domantas Sabonis. McCollum would more than provide that as a third scoring option while Indiana moves an impressive Caris LeVert to the three. A core four of Brogdon, McCollum, LeVert and Sabonis would be nothing to sneeze at.
We mentioned Portland’s struggles on defense above. Why not flip McCollum for a defensive-minded big in Turner who led the NBA in blocks last season and is among the best interior defenders in the Association? It almost makes too much sense. Bringing in a capable scoring wing in Warren would just be icing on the cake. Prior to an injury-plagued 2020-21 campaign, he averaged nearly 20 points on 40% shooting from distance. Talk about getting Dame some help.