Given how the Portland Trail Blazers were on the verge of missing the playoffs at the time the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the NBA suspending its season last month, rumors have been swirling around its stellar starting backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Specifically, McCollum has been the focus of a number of recent trade rumors, including one that suggests he would be the most likely player to be moved if the Blazers choose to shake things up in the 2020 offseason.
As noted by Bleacher Report‘s Greg Swartz, the Trail Blazers are at a point where they resemble the 2013-2018 Toronto Raptors, being a team with a “dynamic” backcourt that could lead them to the playoffs but not to a title run. He stressed that Portland particularly needs an upgrade at the forward positions, as Trevor Ariza and Carmelo Anthony are both in their mid-30s, with the former’s 2020-21 contract only partially guaranteed and the latter set to enter free agency this summer.
While the idea of trading McCollum to the Los Angeles Clippers for superstar forward Kawhi Leonard — who led the Raptors to their first championship in 2019 — was floated around, Swartz suggested that there are other more plausible targets they could chase in the 2020 offseason. He brought up one frequently rumored target in Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love, noting the fact that he’s a Portland native and a player who could provide spacing with his outside shooting. The writer also suggested the Blazers could benefit more by adding “defensive-minded wings who can guard multiple positions and knock down open shots.”
???? This move by CJ MCCOLLUM!
41 PTS (14-24 FG) 5 REB, 5 AST
He's avg 34.6 PTS, 8 AST, 5 REB over his last 5 games pic.twitter.com/TLwAvPZg6P
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 3, 2020
“If the Chicago Bulls are looking to shed salary, Otto Porter Jr. would be a good fit, as would Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings if Portland could execute a sign-and-trade for the restricted free agent,” Swartz suggested.
Aside from McCollum, a number of young Blazers were brought up as theoretical components in a potential offseason trade. These include forward/center Zach Collins, who missed most of the 2019-20 season due to injury, as well as reserve wingmen Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little.
Despite the multiple trade scenarios that could involve McCollum, it’s still far from certain whether the Blazers will consider moving him if they fail to make the postseason. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, one hypothetical situation that might take place in the 2020 offseason is the possibility of McCollum and Lillard teaming up to form a “lethal trio” with Anthony Davis, should the Los Angeles Lakers big man sign with Portland as a free agent.