Could the Trail Blazers be willing to trade CJ McCollum to the Pistons or Wizards?
Portland, Detroit and Washington are all stuck in neutral right now on the NBA landscape and change for sake of change may now be an option for all three NBA teams this summer.
McCollum has been the subject of NBA trade rumors for quite a while, but this summer may be the time Neil Olshey finally strikes.
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“It’s been reported that Olshey has previously rejected offers for Lillard and McCollum,” The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote last month. “Even before this series (a sweep at the hands of the Pelicans), league executives had assumed that Olshey would break up the duo if they failed again.”
That said, blowing it up entirely is not an option for Olshey and the Blazers. Their goal is to compete now, not to tumble back down into the NBA Draft Lottery. Having a chance, however, of leaping into the upper-echelon of the Western Conference will not happen unless they take a risk.
The Blazers’ best option is to look to the Pistons, where Detroit could be looking to trade away Blake Griffin after just three months. The Pistons experiment with two bigs in Griffin and Andre Drummond simply did not work. Detroit would be better off trying to place a high-scoring guard like McCollum next to Drummond for a change of pace. Drummond did not exactly see eye to eye with Stan Van Gundy, and his game could improve with a change in voice.
Similarly, the Blazers have hit their glass ceiling with the combo of guards McCollum and Damien Lillard. Lillard – a scoring point guard like Griffin’s former teammate Chris Paul - and Griffin would make for a nice 1-2 punch for the Blazers.
Contract-wise a deal would work, too. Griffin makes $29.7 million and McCollum makes $23.9. The Pistons might even be willing to take on another player to facilitate a deal financially.
Another option for the Blazers may be looking to the Wizards as Washington is fuming after being knocked out of the first round in a weak Eastern Conference. Washington is still hell-bent on building around John Wall, so if they wanted to make a change-for-sake-of-change move it’s likely that Bradley Beal would be on the way out.
A Beal for McCollum trade might not be worth it given just how similar the two players are, but both the Blazers and Wizards front offices’ are two of the favorites to make bold moves this summer.