CJ McCollum. (Photo: Getty Images)

While they've had difficulties moving out of the shadows of the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers have one of the most talented backcourts in the NBA with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. 

While Lillard has become one of the top point guards in the game, McCollum has developed into a dangerous scorer, averaging 21.7 per games over the past three seasons. 

Yet in the loaded West, the Blazers have been unable to attain any sort of postseason success despite making the playoffs in each of the last five seasons. 

 

In each of the last two years, McCollum, Lillard and Co. were swept in the first round, first by the Warriors in 2017 before a surprisingly poor outing against the New Orleans Pelicans this year. 

Portland's lack of success has presented the idea of breaking the team up over the past few months, with McCollum's name becoming a regular in trade rumors. 

There is no question that Lillard is the face of the franchise and it would be borderline blasphemy to many Blazers fans to even think about trading him. The three-time All-Star is coming off one of the finest seasons of his career in which he averaged 26.9 points and 6.6 assists per game. 

The 26-year-old McCollum though is set to make at least $25 million over the next three seasons which is quite a chunk of change for a major player that has not been able to pick up a single playoff win over the last two years. 

It was believed prior to their playoff series against the Pelicans that general manager Neil Olshey would break the team up should it fail. It doesn't get much worse than being swept a second-straight year. 

While Olshey has turned down offers earlier this year for Lillard and McCollum, it won't be surprising if teams continue to inquire about McCollum for the remainder of the offseason. It would also give the Blazers a chance to move some of their larger, less-successful contracts around like those of Evan Turner's, Moe Harkless and Meyers Leonard. 

Who could be interested in CJ McCollum?

There would be a number of teams interested in McCollum's services considering he would provide a legitimate upgrade to most lineups. 

Among them, the Cleveland Cavaliers are believed to be listening to offers for J.R. Smith, who many believe isn't deserving of starting in the NBA as it is. With Jordan Clarkson backing him up, McCollum would easily bolster the position for the LeBron-less Cavs. 

In the West, the Dallas Mavericks could build a super backcourt of its own by adding a talent like McCollum's with point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who is coming off an explosive rookie season. 

 

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