The Portland Trail Blazers have established themselves as one of the best NBA teams during the regular season, but have been unable to replicate the same performance in the postseason. In the years Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum played together, their greatest achievement was reaching the Western Conference Semifinals, and in the last two seasons, the Trail Blazers were easily swept in the first round by the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018.
If they suffer another disappointment in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, rumors and speculation are circulating that the Trail Blazers will undergo a huge roster shakeup next summer. The Trail Blazers don’t have the capability to chase big names in the free agency market because of their limited salary cap space, but they could improve their roster by engaging in a superstar-for-superstar trade. According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, one of the superstars that the Trail Blazers could target in the 2019 NBA offseason is Jimmy Butler of the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Trail Blazers would send C.J. McCollum, a 2020 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Sixers in exchange for Jimmy Butler. The Sixers will need to include either Jonah Bolden or James Ennis III in the deal to match the Trail Blazers’ outgoing salary.
“That’s a ton to give up for a free agent, but Butler is appreciably better than McCollum, and general manager Neil Olshey doesn’t have any way of digging up the cap space to sign him. The Blazers also have to duck the luxury-tax apron by the end of this deal. That verges on impossible without another dump. They’re taking on more than $6.8 million in salary, so they’ll need to renounce Al-Farouq Aminu or, preferably, reroute one of their sizable expiring contracts (Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Evan Turner).”
The deal will not only be beneficial for the Trail Blazers but also for the 76ers. In exchange for Jimmy Butler, the Sixers would acquire another superstar, C.J. McCollum, who can improve their floor-spacing and excel in an off-ball capacity. This season, the 27-year-old shooting guard is averaging 21.3 points and 4.0 rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting from the field, and 38.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
However, for the deal to push through, the 76ers and the Trail Blazers first need to know if Jimmy Butler is interested in playing alongside Damian Lillard in Portland. As everyone knows, Butler has a player option on his current contract that will enable him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Sean Deveney of Sporting News revealed that Butler’s preferred landing spots include the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Clippers.