While the NBA Conference Finals continue to press on, this summer's highly anticipated season of change is already in the works.
Aside from multiple top free-agents becoming available in July, a number of teams and players are seeking fresh starts after experiencing a relatively sub-par season. The Portland Trailblazers are one of those teams, and some very interesting rumors are already beginning to surface regarding the status of their backcourt star, CJ McCollum (via Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons).
Bill Simmons: Is CJ McCollum on the Blazers next year?
Zach Lowe: I’m going to say no.
Simmons: I’m going to no as well.
Lowe: Again, you’re forcing me at metaphorical gunpoint to make these calls, but I’m going to say no. I’ve said before there’s going to be crazy stuff that happens in the offseason because teams are taxed out and just kind of unhappy about life and Portland fits that to a T, so I’ll say no.
Simmons: The trade that makes the most sense is McCollum to Philly, and unfortunately, they don’t need Markelle Fultz back in that trade since they have Dame Lillard, and that has to become a three-teamer at that point, and that’s where it becomes complicated. Now, you could argue they just take Fultz back, but the trade fits Saric and Fultz or Fultz and the 10th pick. I don’t think Fultz for McCollum straight up is a fair trade.
Lowe: No, but that number 10 pick is a really interesting little trade asset.
Simmons: So Fultz and 10 go somewhere, McCollum goes to the Sixers, and whatever the third team is gives something to the Blazers I think is realistic. Now, another one that could work … how about McCollum on Indiana?
Lowe: There’s a lot of overlap with Oladipo, but enough shooting to make it work. How are we making that happen?
Simmons: Myles Turner? What kind of value does Myles Turner have right now in the league as an upside stretch five with a ton of potential—who, honestly, if he had been better in that Cleveland series they probably would have won? I don’t blame him for it because he’s young, but you could also make the case there’s never going to be some sort of leap, and he’s going to always be this tantalizing guy who could be all these things, but he just will never get there.
Lowe: Wildly variable for exactly what you just said. I think a year ago his trade value was really high, and now it’s sort of eye of the beholder.
As for right now, no official indicator has been set regarding any change of scenery for McCollum. But after another rather disappointing season, who wouldn't consider a move? Maybe a trade to the Pacers, Sixers, or even the Celtics would be better for all sides.
Evidently, though, both Simmons and Lowe are buying into the idea that Portland's beloved shooting guard will more likely than not be wearing a new jersey next season. And with everything that's transpired this year, who's to say that they're wrong?