Blazers trade rumors have fans wondering what the franchise might do next. Among the Portland Trail Blazers trade rumors that have surfaced in recent weeks was chatter that guard CJ McCollum could get dealt to help the team improve at other positions. A report from the Columbian refutes those rumors, stating that there is no reason for the Blazers to break up the duo of Damian Lillard and McCollum.
This NBA season has been a coming out party for CJ McCollum, who is finally seeing significant playing time with the Portland Trail Blazers. Through 46 games (all starts), McCollum is averaging 20.7 points, 4.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals a night. He is shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line, giving the Blazers a discernible weapon in every phase of the offense.
Will McCollum at his side, Damian Lillard is playing even better this year. Through 41 games, Lillard is averaging 24.3 points, 7.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. They are the best numbers of his four-year NBA career, showing that he may not have even reached his full potential in the league. Unfortunately, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, Lillard just became one of the most notable snubs from the Western Conference All-Star team.
Another reason that there have been a lot of Portland Trail Blazers trade rumors is that the team is so far under the NBA salary cap. There are only about $49 million in salaries on the books for the 2015-16 NBA season, meaning the team can absorb a contract or two from another franchise. Another team looking to dip under the luxury tax threshold or two teams looking for a third team to enter into a trade could call Portland as the NBA trade deadline draws closer.
In the latest NBA standings, the Blazers have taken over the eighth playoff spot in the West. The team has improved to 22-26 on the season with a three-game winning streak, moving them ahead of the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings. Though it’s a positive step to make the 2016 NBA Playoffs, the eighth seeded team likely will have to play the Golden State Warriors in the first round. Moving up in the standings would certainly improve the postseason outlook.
A report from CBS Sports discussed one of the other Portland Trail Blazers trade rumors that has come up. This one involves the Blazers trying to acquire Rudy Gay from the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have started shopping Gay, with the intent to deal him for the best package of players available. The basics of this proposed deal would have the Blazers dealing center Ed Davis and guard Allen Crabbe. Davis has two more years left on his contract, while Crabbe is a restricted free agent in the offseason.
A reason for the Blazers to make this trade would be that Gay immediately gives the team a third scoring threat on offense. At 29 years old, Gay is averaging 18.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He could help the Blazers keep pace with some of the better offensive teams in the West, and at an affordable rate of about $12.4 million this season and $13.3 million next year. Gay also has a player option of about $14.3 million for the 2017-18 NBA season.
The Sacramento Kings might just consider a deal like this if the intent becomes to get Gay’s contract off the books. If the Blazers added a future first-round selection or a second-round pick for next year it might even be possible. This has just been conjecture by NBA analysts, though, as no official negotiations have taken place between the Blazers and Kings.
The NBA trade deadline is on February 18, giving the Portland Trail Blazers a lot of time to still make a deal. If the Blazers begin to struggle as the day approaches, though, the front office may decide to just unload more veterans and look to add another young asset in the 2016 NBA Draft.
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