The fire sale continues in Rip City. The Portland Trail Blazers parted ways with CJ McCollum when they agreed to a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans that includes seven total players and three draft picks.
McCollum, 30, averages 20.5 points and 4.5 assists this season with the Trail Blazers. He shoots a tad under 40% from 3-point range over his nine-season career.
The Trail Blazers also said goodbye to Larry Nance (6.9 ppg) and Tony Snell (2.6 ppg), who were also included in the McCollum trade.
|NBA Trade: Trail Blazers and Pelicans
|New Orleans Gets
|Larry Nance, Jr.
|2022 First Round Draft Pick
|Second Round Draft Pick (2)
The Pelicans will send Josh Hart (13.4 ppg), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (12.8 ppg), Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, a protected first-round pick, and a pair of future second-round picks to complete the trade with the Trail Blazers.
Despite the McCollum trade, the NBA futures market didn’t change. The Pelicans are still a long shot to win the 2022 NBA championship at +100000 odds over at DraftKings.
Rebuild in Rip City
The Pelicans (21-32) currently occupy the #10 seed in the Western Conference and are fighting for a spot in the play-in tournament. The Trail Blazers (21-33) sit in the #11 seed, and are clearly tanking for the remainder of the season after they ditched two of their top scorers in the last week.
Once the Trail Blazers parted ways with former general manager Neil Olshey, it opened the door to trade McCollum. Olshey and McCollum shared a bond because Olshey drafted McCollum out of Lehigh with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, which is not known as a college basketball powerhouse. These days, it’s hard to find a player who flew under the radar in college, but a lot of teams overlooked McCollum in the 2013 NBA Draft. Olshey would never trade McCollum, which is why once he was ousted in Portland, McCollum’s days were numbered.
The Pelicans will now be on the hook for McCollum’s contract. He signed a three-year extension worth $100 million, which began this season. He’s due $33.3 million next season and $35.8 million in 2023-24.
Last Friday, the Trail Blazers worked out a trade with the LA Clippers. They sent Norman Powell to Hollywood where he’s reunited with his former Toronto Raptors teammate Kawhi Leonard. The two won a championship together in 2019.
This is the second trade in the last few days involving the Trail Blazers. With the trade deadline less than 48 hours away, the big question remains: will Portland trade Damian Lillard? Lillard is out for another month or two while recovering from core stomach surgery.
Pelicans poised for playoffs play-in?
McCollum provides the Pelicans with a reliable scoring presence. He’s one of five NBA players who averaged 20-plus points in the last seven seasons. That exclusive list also includes LeBron James, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, and Anthony Davis.
With the McCollum trade, the Pelicans also added a long-range bomber and sniper. The Pelicans are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA. They’re ranked #26, connecting just 32.9% from downtown. McCollum connected on 38.4% of his treys this season, but he shot 40.2% last season and had three seasons in which he posted better than 40% from deep.
McCollum joins Devonte Graham in the Pelicans’ backcourt, which should be exciting to watch. Graham averages 13.7 points and 4.5 assists per game.
The Pelicans are led by Brandon Ingram who averages 22.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Big Man Jonas Valanciunas is their second-best scorer, averaging 18.2 points and a team-high 11.7 rebounds per game.
Zion Williamson has yet to play a game this season while he recovers from a foot injury. Zion’s future status is still unknown.