CJ McCollum had a tough time last season. After a hot start to the new season, where he was getting genuine All-Star considerations, McCollum suffered a major injury that kept him sidelined for much of the season. And even though he returned in time for the playoffs, his performances were not enough to help get the Trail Blazers past reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
Since then, the Blazers have been facing a lot of questions about their future. Terry Stotts was replaced by Chauncey Billups. And Damian Lillard has been linked numerous times with a trade away from Portland. But could CJ McCollum be the player who actually makes way for the Blazers?
The answer to that would be: not yet. It appears that the Portland Trail Blazers have been receiving calls from other franchise front offices to negotiate a trade for CJ McCollum. Several teams are willing to part with first-round picks in order to bring CJ into the fold. However, the Trail Blazers have rejected those offers so far. According to Jason Quick of The Athletic, the thinking in Portland right now is that they can help CJ improve, and it would improve their chances next season.
The current plan right now is to run it back next season with an improved defensive performance from a team coached by Chauncey Billups. Furthermore, the team wants to see CJ elevate his game and help carry the team along with Dame. And finally, if they can bring back Norman Powell, they want to see what dynamic he can bring to the team in a full season.
"There appears to be an inclination to run this group back again, with Billups holding the defensive reins more tightly than Terry Stotts, and seeing what a full season of Powell — should he return — could look like. Running back the same starting lineup may not align with what Lillard was envisioning, but it’s easy to forget the Blazers (42-30) finished tied for the fifth-best record in the West and the eighth-best record in the NBA, despite McCollum missing 25 games because of a broken foot and Nurkic missing 35 games with a broken wrist and strained calf."
McCollum looks to be safe for the moment in Portland. However, any major bomb thrown at the Trail Blazers could result in CJ being sent away in exchange for assets, be they players or draft picks. But as things stand, McCollum will be playing for the Blazers next season.