In less than two months from now, the 2018-19 NBA season will officially kick off, and with all that time remaining before the start of the regular season, almost all of the league’s top free agents have found new teams or decided to stick with their old ones. However, there’s always the possibility that a trade or two might shake things up in the last few weeks of the offseason. According to Bleacher Report, one of those potential trades should ideally involve forward/guard Andrew Wiggins going to the Portland Trail Blazers and shooting guard C.J. McCollum getting sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rumors of Wiggins and McCollum swapping teams first started early in the 2017-18 season, as Sports Illustrated listed the deal as one of several trades that “should happen, but won’t.” There have also been rumors suggesting that the Trail Blazers are planning to shake up their starting backcourt of McCollum and Damian Lillard, as well as numerous reports suggesting issues between Timberwolves shooting guard Jimmy Butler and younger teammates Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
With all that in mind, Bleacher Report recommended that the Andrew Wiggins-C.J. McCollum trade push forward as a late offseason trade this year, with the Trail Blazers also sending reserve center Meyers Leonard to Minnesota and the Timberwolves packaging Justin Patton, Tyus Jones, and a top-20-protected 2019 first-round pick with Wiggins to Portland. According to Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley, such a setup would allow the Blazers to shore up their defensive deficiencies in the backcourt and give the Timberwolves the “best possible on-court product” before Butler potentially enters free agency in the summer of 2019.
Aside from the possibility of Wiggins realizing his potential as a scorer and shooter and as someone who could defend multiple positions, the proposed trade could give the Blazers another “big man with upside” in Patton, with Jones contributing as a backup playmaker to Lillard. As for Leonard, a former lottery pick who has mostly been used by Portland as a reserve center, Bleacher Report suggested that a move to Minnesota could help the Blazers find opportunities for younger big men such as incoming second-year players Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan.
While Bleacher Report stressed that trading Andrew Wiggins for C.J. McCollum could be too “dramatic” a move for both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers, the publication suggested that the proposed transaction could also help jumpstart one or both teams in case they struggle early on in the 2018-19 NBA season.