New NBA trade rumors have emerged saying that the Portland Trail Blazers might offer shooting guard C.J. McCollum to interested teams as they reportedly plan to get an upgrade at the center position. The Blazers presently starts Jusuf Nurkic in the middle with Meyers Leonard as the primary substitute.
Nurkic has been producing decent numbers for head coach Terry Stotts in 27 games so far this season. His current averages of 15.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 27.8 minutes per game has helped the squad take the fifth spot in the West with a 16-14 slate.
However, according to SB Nation’s Blazer’s Edge blog, the Blazers may be underwhelmed by Nurkic’s contributions and could take a look at the crop of rumored-to-be available seven-footers in the trade market right now.
Some of the big-name centers being dangled in the latest rumor mill are Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Karl Anthony Towns. All of them are legitimate superstars in their own squads and anyone is evidently considered as an upgrade to Nurkic.
Gasol and Jordan are said to be the more realistic acquisitions as the other three are younger and would require more assets in return. Of the two, the blog said that trading for Gasol would be the most viable deal because of the Spaniard’s age, reported unhappiness in Memphis, and his current manageable contract.
However, getting Gasol would more likely force them to give up McCollum, who has been the team’s No. 2 guy for Damian Lillard in the past two seasons. McCollum is still that man to this day, averaging 21.3 points, 4.0 boards, and 2.8 assists in 36.7 minutes a night. He is also shooting 43.9 percent from downtown, which is 15th in the league.
Losing McCollum would be a huge risk for the Blazers as he had been a tried and tested performer alongside Lillard even in the postseason. Moreover, the 26-year-old just signed a four-year, $106.6 million deal with the Blazers last summer. There are no indications that the Grizzlies are prepared to handle such an amount of cash burden at the moment.
The Oregonian reported a potential Marc Gasol trade to the Blazers earlier in the month. It noted that Portland “could greatly benefit from the presence of an All-Star center” and may boost the squad to finally become a legitimate Western Conference contender.
The report implied, though, that the Blazers could hesitate if it means including McCollum in the deal.