The explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum helped the Portland Trail Blazers become a legitimate title contender in the deep Western Conference. Unfortunately, in the last five years, their only greatest achievement was reaching the Western Conference semifinals. After suffering an early exit in the NBA Playoffs 2018, rumors and speculation started to circulate that the Trail Blazers may consider trading one of their superstars.
With Damian Lillard considered as the face of the franchise, most people see C.J. McCollum as the likely trade candidate. If the Trail Blazers will really consider trading McCollum, it should be for another superstar who can help them become more competitive in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. According to SB Nation’s Blazer’s Edge, Portland may consider engaging in a blockbuster trade deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves involving McCollum and Jimmy Butler.
In the proposed trade deal, the Trail Blazers will be sending C.J. McCollum and Moe Harkless to the Timberwolves for Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. The deal works on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. As SB Nation’s Blazer’s Edge noted, the suggested trade will benefit both the Trail Blazers and the Timberwolves.
“Portland gets Butler and veteran power forward Gibson, solidifying two starting positions that have been the team’s weakness since the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum three years ago. This would open a spot at starting shooting guard – but with the Blazers’ plethora of guards, this can surely be addressed. Minnesota gets a borderline All-Star in McCollum and starting caliber small forward, keeping them relevant and capable of contending for the playoffs.”
Luol Deng joins ex-Bulls Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and coach Tom Thibodeau on the Timberwolves.
— ChicagoSports (@ChicagoSports) September 11, 2018
The combination of Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and Jusuf Nurkic will undeniably give a huge headache to any powerhouse teams in the league. The departure of C.J. McCollum will give an opportunity to other Trail Blazers’ shooting guards like Seth Curry and Nik Staukas to prove themselves in the league. Meanwhile, in exchange for Butler, the Timberwolves will receive another superstar who can help them remain competitive next season. With his ability to play off the ball, McCollum could be a better fit with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
SB Nation’s Blazer’s Edge suggested two other trade packages that don’t involve C.J. McCollum or Damian Lillard which is definitely ideal for the Trail Blazers. However, it is less likely that a trade package consisting of role players can convince the Timberwolves to send Jimmy Butler to Portland. Though Butler is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 NBA season, the Timberwolves are still hoping that they could get a good return.