After suffering an early elimination in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs, rumors circulated that the Portland Trail Blazers may consider breaking the explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. With Lillard being considered as the face of the franchise, most people believe McCollum is more likely to be the trade candidate. Should the Los Angeles Clippers target McCollum in the upcoming offseason?
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer sees the Clippers as one of the NBA teams who could express interest in trading for C.J. McCollum once the Trail Blazers make him available on the trade market this summer. Before the February trade deadline, the Clippers and the Trail Blazers reportedly engaged in a deal centered on DeAndre Jordan, but LA’s asking price was “too steep.” O’Connor suggested that both teams could expand the deal by involving another player and a draft pick.
In the proposed trade deal, the Clippers will be sending Jordan, Patrick Beverley, and their own 2018 first-round pick (projected No. 13) to Portland for C.J. McCollum. The deal works on the ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. The deal makes a lot of sense for the Trail Blazers since they have been targeting Jordan since the trade deadline. The acquisition of Jordan will ease the departure of Jusuf Nurkic once he receives a huge offer from other NBA teams as a restricted free agent.
The only problem in trading for DeAndre Jordan is that he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Before making any deal, the Trail Blazers should first get an assurance Jordan can commit to the team long-term. The arrival of Patrick Beverley will give Damian Lillard a new backcourt partner who is known for being a good defender. The 2018 first-round pick can be used to draft a player who can address the areas they need to improve their roster.
Meanwhile, O’Connor believes trading for C.J. McCollum would be “reasonable” for the Clippers if they see him as the type of player whom they can build around. McCollum has turned himself into an all-star since entering the league in 2013, and there is a high possibility that he can do better once he becomes the main guy on the team.