On Tuesday, Pelinka will take the next step in the Lakers’ offseason process. He’ll be in a sequestered drawing room for the NBA draft lottery at the New York Hilton Midtown, where he’ll learn the Lakers’ fate before those outside the room, including President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and others in the Lakers’ organization. It’s not superstition or symbolism that made Pelinka want to be there. He sees a strategic opportunity.
December 7, 2021 | 12:38 pm EST Update
A bit of important reporting we will try not to bury in a recap — a source familiar with the situation spoke to PhillyVoice on Monday evening and said the Sixers have had no recent discussions with Portland regarding a CJ McCollum trade, and a package centered around the Blazers’ guard is not currently of interest to the Sixers.
“Me and Dame have a good relationship,” McCollum said. “I think when Dame speaks, you hear him. When you hear ‘sources’ and ‘anonymous’, I don’t necessarily know if that is Dame or not, because it’s not Dame putting his name on it. He generally puts his name on things. I know where he stands with me, and he knows where I stand with him. The organization, they need to do what is best for themselves.” I asked where he thought he stood with Lillard. “If he wanted me to leave, I think he would say that,” McCollum said. “He’s not speaking on me behind closed doors because that’s not in his DNA. He’s not built like that. He’s solid, and I know his word is his bond.”
I asked him if he felt his future in Portland was more cloudy or uncertain now that Olshey is gone. “That’s a question for somebody else. I just do my job: show up for work and do my job,” McCollum said.
As I looked down at his text message, I was taken aback. Enough so that I pulled over and read it again. “Oregon is home,” McCollum wrote. “Always will be. I got married here. My son will be born here. We bought 318 acres here and started planting our vineyard here. This city and organization have been very good to me and my family. We’re forever grateful.”
As my car idled on the side of the road, my mind raced. Did I miss something? Did McCollum get traded? I did a quick search. Nothing. “Damn,” I texted back. “You make it sound like a goodbye.” “It’s not a goodbye,” he replied. “I’m still here, my friend.”
On top of it all, the Blazers (11-14) have lost six of their last seven games, many in blowout fashion. That bonfire of rumors is starting to put out enough heat that McCollum can feel it. “Try having a kid in the middle of COVID,” McCollum said before leaving the Moda Center. “That shit ain’t normal. Now, try having a kid during COVID amid trade rumors in the middle of the season. Yeah …”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Any unvaccinated NBA player with temporary VISA status leaving the country will be unable to re-enter the United States, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. For example, a player would be unable to re-enter after playing in Canada, or traveling outside U.S. on All-Star weekend.