Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum had been the subject of various trade rumors before last Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. Evidently, the rumors remained as rumors and the team decided to keep him for the rest of the season as the deadline passed.
Those rumors began last month when New York Times reporter Marc Stein predicted that this could be the year the Blazers will “break up the potent backcourt” of Lillard and McCollum. McCollum was then linked to several teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, and Cleveland Cavaliers, but no deals have pushed through.
Despite Portland’s continued on-court inconsistencies, losing four of their last six games, SB Nation’s Blazer’s Edge blog reported that team president Neil Olshey has recently “reaffirmed the team’s commitment” to keep their backcourt intact moving forward. Still, there are speculations that McCollum could be traded this year, particularly in the summer.
The latest rumor came from Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, saying “executives around the league” have informed him that “McCollum will continue to be a target in the offseason.” Deveney noted that McCollum would more likely be traded “if the team struggles to make the playoffs or falls out of the picture altogether.”
Portland is sixth in the West right now with a 31-25 record after their home loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday night. McCollum continued to struggle with his shooting, sinking only eight of his 22 shots during the game. He managed to finish with 22 points to support Lillard’s 39, but they were not enough to beat the Jazz.
McCollum actually has an ongoing shooting slump, shooting only 38.9 percent from the field in his last five games, per ESPN. The former Lehigh standout is a career 46 percent shooter and he had shot a career-high 48 percent in field goals last season.
Deveney said that an anonymous GM believes the Blazers are “going to get a lot of good offers” for McCollum, and the team might be interested in making a trade if they can get a forward that could help the squad “long-term.”
Stein mentioned in his report that Portland intends to balance their roster, which is considered as too guard-heavy at the moment. The Blazers have Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton as McCollum’s current alternates while starting small forward Evan Turner could also slide down to shooting guard if the need arises.