After suffering another huge disappointment in the 2019-20 NBA season, the Atlanta Hawks are expected to be more aggressive in upgrading their roster in the 2020 NBA offseason. With Trae Young proving that he’s ready to compete against the best players in the league, the Hawks may consider making big moves that could turn them from a rebuilding team to a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference. One of the superstars they could potentially target on the trade market this fall is All-Star shooting guard CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Trail Blazers haven’t shown any indication that they are planning to make McCollum available on the trading block this fall, but Dallin Duffy of Fansided’s Soaring Down South considered the All-Star shooting guard as a realistic offseason target for Atlanta. In the proposed trade scenario, the Hawks would offer a trade package that includes Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, and a 2020 first-round pick to the Trail Blazers in exchange for McCollum.
For the deal to work under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the Hawks would still need to add more players to match the Trail Blazers’ outgoing salary. If the trade becomes a reality, Duffy believes it would be beneficial for both teams.
“The trade would give the Blazers a young forward and Clint Capela, who can be a better version of what Hassan Whiteside was for them this year. They can pick up another young stud with the pick (which is guaranteed to be in the top eight) or use it as a piece to flip it into another player.”
Though they just acquired Capela from the Houston Rockets before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, trading him, together with Hunter and a 2020 first-round pick, for McCollum would be a no-brainer for the Hawks. McCollum would be an incredible addition to the team, giving Young an All-Star caliber running mate who could ease the load on his shoulders on the offensive end of the floor. This season, the 28-year-old shooting guard is averaging 22.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Sharing the court with an elite three-point shooter like McCollum would greatly benefit Young. Having more space to execute the offense, it would be easier for Young to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when he’s trapped by the opposing team’s defense. McCollum isn’t expected to have a hard time building chemistry with Young. With the years he spent with Damian Lillard in Portland, he has learned how to excel in an off-ball capacity, making him the ideal backcourt partner for a ball-dominant guard like Young.
The potential arrival of McCollum in Atlanta wouldn’t make the Hawks an instant title contender in the Eastern Conference. However, pairing him with Young would undoubtedly strengthen the Hawks’ chances of ending their playoff drought in the 2020-21 NBA season.