NBA Rumors: Pacers Could Swap Victor Oladipo For CJ McCollum Before 2021 Trade Deadline

C.J. McCollum #3 of the Portland Trailblazers dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

As the 2020-21 NBA season goes on, several interesting trade ideas continue to surface in the league. These include a hypothetical blockbuster deal that would allow Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo and Portland Trail Blazers sharpshooter CJ McCollum to swap teams before the 2021 trade deadline. The idea of an Oladipo-McCollum deal was proposed by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report.

In the suggested scenario, the Pacers would be sending a package that includes Oladipo, Doug McDermott, and a lottery-protected 2021 first-round pick to the Trail Blazers in exchange for McCollum and CJ Elleby. If the potential deal becomes a reality, Buckley believes it would benefit both the Pacers and the Trail Blazers. For Portland, the proposed scenario would allow them to replace McCollum with another All-Star caliber shooting guard that would provide significant improvement for their performance on the defensive end of the floor.

“Swapping out McCollum for Victor Oladipo, who was angling for a scenery change this offseason, could prop up Portland in the critical point-prevention department. A healthy Oladipo—he certainly looks like himself so far—is a menace on defense, and the 2017-18 All-Defensive first-teamer can check either backcourt position. Working alongside Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr., Oladipo could give this group enough versatility to cover for the score-first sieves on this roster. Portland would also add a three-point marksman in Doug McDermott and fetch a first-round pick to cover for the fact that Oladipo is unsigned past this season.”

C.J. McCollum #3 of the Portland Trailblazers shoots the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 29, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Meanwhile, the potential deal would be a no-brainer for the Pacers. Oladipo may be starting to show a glimpse of his old self, but if they don’t receive an assurance that he would stay beyond the 2020-21 NBA season, they may want to strongly consider moving him before the trade deadline. Instead of taking the risk of losing him as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return, the suggested trade would give them a superstar who is under contract until the 2023-24 NBA season.

Compared to Oladipo, McCollum is undeniably a better scorer and floor-spacer. This season, he’s averaging 26.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. With his ability to efficiently move on the court with or without the ball in his hands, he would nicely fit alongside Malcolm Brogdon in the Pacers’ backcourt.

McCollum may not have shown any sign that he’s no longer happy in Portland, but with the team currently stuck in mediocrity, it might be best for him and Damian Lillard to head into different directions. Moving out of the shadow of Lillard could help McCollum unleash his hidden potential and solidify his status as one of the best shooting guards in league history.