With the team likely heading into an inevitable rebuild, the Detroit Pistons are expected to prioritize getting rid of Blake Griffin and the two years and $75.4 million left on his contract this offseason. However, with his current injury and deteriorating performance, the Pistons would likely need to sacrifice a first-round pick to find a team that will absorb Griffin’s massive salary. In a recent article, Duncan Smith of Fansided’s Hoops Habit discussed a hypothetical blockbuster deal that would allow the Pistons to dump Griffin with the Portland Trail Blazers this fall.
In the proposed scenario, Detroit would be sending a package that includes Griffin and the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to Portland in exchange for McCollum and the No. 16 selection. Though it wouldn’t enable them to open up a huge chunk of their salary cap space, Smith believes swapping the All-Star power forward for McCollum would make sense for the Pistons.
“While McCollum isn’t the youngest player in the league, he’s a talented ball-handler, playmaker and scorer, and he would immediately become the No. 1 scoring option on this team. Last season he averaged 22.2 points, 4.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game with shooting splits of.451/.379/.757. Last season was actually a down shooting season for him as he’s a 39.7 percent career shooter from 3-point range. McCollum is a dynamic scorer and will likely thrive as the clear first option after settling in the No. 2 spot behind Damian Lillard for his entire career thus far. This is a good deal for the Pistons.”
The potential deal would give the Pistons the option to rebuild while remaining competitive in the Eastern Conference. McCollum may not be enough to turn them into an instant title contender but when he’s surrounded with the right players, he could help them return to the playoffs next year. McCollum may not have shown any indication that he’s no longer happy in Portland, but most NBA fans will definitely be interested to see him lead his own team.
Starting a journey in Detroit where he will likely be considered the main guy and the No. 1 option on the offensive end of the floor could help him solidify his status as a legitimate superstar in the league. Meanwhile, if the deal was presented five years ago, it would have been a no-brainer for the Trail Blazers. Griffin would be an incredible superstar running mate and pick-and-roll partner for Damian Lillard.
However, as of now, it remains a big question if the Trail Blazers will pull the trigger on an injury-riddled star who is earning a max salary. If ever the Trail Blazers decide to move McCollum, it would only be in a deal that would enable them to acquire a young and healthier All-Star that would help them make a deep playoff run next year.