The Philadelphia 76ers entered this season as one of the favorite teams to dominate the Eastern Conference and win the NBA championship. Unfortunately, since the season started, the Sixers have gone through plenty of ups and downs, and as of now, they clearly need to make massive upgrades on their roster to have a realistic chance of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. One of the superstars that the Sixers could target before the trade deadline is CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers.
In his recent article, Alex Saenz of Fansided’s Sir Charles In Charge listed seven blockbuster deals that could happen before the trade deadline. In the proposed trade deal that would send McCollum to Philadelphia, Saenz suggested that the Sixers could offer a trade package centered on veteran big man Al Horford.
“This would be an extremely interesting challenge trade for both sides,” Saenz wrote. “It is quite clear that the Sixers lack perimeter shot creation, so CJ McCollum gives them help in that regard. This would address Philly’s struggles in the late-game offense. He also is an elite off-ball threat with his shooting and movement by running off screens and cutting. Horford has already voiced his frustrations this season, and at age 33 his contract does not look particularly attractive.”
Trading Horford for McCollum is undeniably a no-brainer for the 76ers. Philadelphia brought Horford in with the hope that he could strengthen their chance of winning the NBA title. Unfortunately, as of now, Horford has yet to live up to expectations from the massive contract he signed last summer, and to make things more complicated, he couldn’t efficiently co-exist with Joel Embiid in the Sixers’ frontcourt.
Compared to Horford, McCollum is a much better fit for the 76ers roster. McCollum would give the Sixers an All-Star-caliber shooting guard who could complement Embiid and Ben Simmons and tremendously improve their floor spacing. This season, the 28-year-old superstar is averaging 21.4 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Though McCollum hasn’t shown any sign of discontent with the Trail Blazers, it would definitely be intriguing to see him play for one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. However, the hypothetical trade deal is less likely to happen before the trade deadline.
Horford may be able to fill the huge hole in the Trail Blazers’ frontcourt, but a trade package centered on him wouldn’t be enough to convince Portland to send McCollum to Philadelphia.