With social media buzz of potential trade scenarios for Portland, Frye weighed in on the idea of dealing CJ McCollum. And he made sure to let everyone, including the Boston Celtics, know what he thinks it would take to get a trade done for McCollum. Channing Frye: “If you want CJ McCollum and somebody, you’d have to give me Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart… That’s what I see CJ’s value as.” Frye reiterated for the Blazers to trade McCollum, it couldn’t just be for Celtics wing Marcus Smart. Frye threw in Smart and Gordon Hayward as another potential trade pair.
The leaguewide interest level in Aaron Gordon is murkier. Brooklyn discussed chasing him in prior years, but that is probably moot now. He makes sense in Portland, though NBA Twitter's beloved Gordon-for-CJ McCollum swap has never been discussed in any serious way, sources say.
The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have no interest in joining the NBA’s player movement — even as the stars have seen their competitors demand trades and forge new allegiances.
As for Lillard and McCollum? They represent the rare stars who have resisted forging new alliances in different uniforms. Why do that when they have each other? "Everybody has the right to make the decision that they feel is best for themselves, That’s the way the league has gone," McCollum told USA TODAY Sports. "But I’m indifferent. I really just work on myself and work on how I can get better for our team."
Ben Golliver: Blazers' CJ McCollum: "We got swept last year. It was on TV every day. They talked about me getting traded, how we can't win together. I was able to fly to Europe to see my brother play because the season ended so early. I told him this year, I ain't going to be able to make it."
Turner, meanwhile, said if one wants to nitpick, the Blazers could use a shot blocker. And the hot topic in Portland, and one that is growing around the league, is wondering whether Olshey will trade one of his most prized talents, CJ McCollum. “What’s his name … Bill Simmons has been trying to get me traded for like five years,” McCollum said the day Simmons’ website The Ringer posed a McCollum for Aaron Gordon trade. “There’s a proposed trade for me three times a year by him. I admire the fact that he thinks I’m worthy of being traded to … 12 teams.”
Given what you just said, does it bother you when you hear people say the Blazers should split Dame and CJ up? Jusuf Nurkic: Look, what do you get when you split up Dame and CJ? You get a lottery team, 20 wins probably in a year. That's not the goal. For a small-market team, I think that Portland is not appreciating what Dame really is. You're not going to get anytime some player like Dame here. Everybody knows that. The way he treats the city, the way he treats the people, the way he treats the guys around him. Even a person he just met, any day, he treats every person the same. That's what's amazing for me to see.
There have always been whispers in league circles that Portland should break up the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum duo, but there has been no indication it will. Portland is a playoff bubble team, though, and has few other avenues to make noteworthy changes.
It’s been reported that Olshey has previously rejected offers for Lillard and McCollum. But that doesn’t mean the phones will stop buzzing. Even before this series, league executives had assumed that Olshey would break up the duo if they failed again. We’ll find out in due time, but the idea should be entertained.
Joe Freeman: This is a tired debate, IMO. Important people have made it clear to me that McCollum isn't going anywhere. (http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2018/02/portland_trail_blazers_brace_for_nba_trade_deadlin.html) And I can assure you Lillard isn't going anywhere. It's incumbent on the front office to put the right players around them.
Executives around the league told SN that McCollum will continue to be a target in the offseason, especially if the team struggles to make the playoffs or falls out of the picture altogether. "They have a lot invested in those two guys [McCollum and Lillard], and if they’re not making progress, they’re going to get a lot of good offers," one general manager said. "They are excited about [forward] Zach Collins, but they need help at the forward spots long-term. And everyone likes C.J. McCollum."
A source with knowledge of the Blazers' deadline thinking told The Oregonian/OregonLive that McCollum is not -- and never will be -- going anywhere, even though his name has been attached to rumors involving Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers. That stance echoes past comments from Olshey, who has labeled his dynamic shooting guard off limits to interested parties.
"It's a tough situation to be in," McCollum said. "I always tell people ... imagine you show up to work every day and there's rumors about you being traded from your job to another job in another city Every day. And imagine that it actually happens. But you find out the same time everybody else finds out. And you've got kids or you've got a wife, whatever the case may be. Maybe you bought a house. And now you're traded and you have to move to another city. And it's out of your control. Literally out of your control. So it's a tough situation to be in, but a part of the business."
Some folks have pitched deals centered around C.J. McCollum. Portland continues to reject any inquires on McCollum and Damian Lillard, sources say.
Zach Lowe: I've heard the same as you, which is that any, any, any calls to break up the Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum backcourt have been summarily rejected by the Blazers. Do they have anything cooking in terms of getting under the tax? Adrian Wojnarowski: I think Maurice Harkless is a player that has been discussed in some different places, and that's certainly a position the Blazers have wanted to get better at and upgrade. But it's tough, everybody in the league wants—there's such a premium on wings. And Harkless had his best season a couple of years ago before they did the four-year deal, and he hasn't played as well since. Sacramento, in the past, has had some interest in him.
Are you hearing the Blazers may look to trade Lillard or McCollum? Sam Amick: “I’m not hearing that. In fact, the last time I talked to someone who inquired about those guys to Portland was about two weeks ago and Portland said they aren’t moving their guys. But you always have to look at the personality of the executive and Neil Olshey is not only one of those really aggressive GMs, he’s one of those turn-over-every-rock GMs. He’s also a guy who’s very good at laying in the weeds, so a lot of his stuff gets done in the dark and we don’t hear about it until the very end. … But they have to think about this stuff. When you look at the standings and you’re a middle-of-the-road team that has no shot of winning a championship or even getting to the Conference Finals, you have to try to get something done. And Marc [Stein] is obviously one of the best in the business and I'm sure he's getting it from a good place, so it is something worth watching.”
This is the year Portland will break up the potent backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum: The Blazers don’t want to trade either one, especially when they awoke Wednesday ranked seventh in the league in defensive efficiency despite the annual external skepticism about the pairing’s capabilities at that end of the floor. But the easiest path to balancing the roster is by parting with one of their two guards — most likely McCollum — for a package headlined by a frontcourt player on their level. No one’s suggesting it’ll happen before the Feb. 8 trade deadline, but Portland’s latest so-so season threatens to be the impetus that finally pushes the longtime Blazers owner Paul Allen in a new direction.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Portland's goal is to build around CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic. They're not interested in trading any of those three players. They would love to bring another impact player to add to them.
“We hear everything that’s going on, just like the rest of the fans,” said Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum. “Whether it’s rumors or people actually tweeting at us, we see everything, but it’s part of the business we live in. It’s a tough part of it but just got to try and stay focused and understand that a lot of this stuff if out of your control. You can’t control trades, you can’t control a lot of that stuff. All you can control is your preparation and how you react to it.”
“Rumor are just that: rumors,” said McCollum. “Unless (The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski) tweets it I don’t really believe it because Woj knows all things. He is the guru of breaking news. Unless he tweets it I don’t really pay much attention, but I’m sure there’s a little truth to a lot of rumors, or some truth to it in terms of teams taking calls. I’m sure teams are taking calls, they’re not just going to hang up on people, so I’m sure teams are taking calls…That doesn’t mean they’re going to make a trade.”
One league source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that the Portland Trail Blazers called to inquire about Drummond but quickly abandoned their interest when Detroit asked for Blazers guard C.J. McCollum in return. The Blazers, sources told Shelburne, regard McCollum as an untouchable.
Leonard, Crabbe and Harkless aren't eligible to be moved until Jan. 15. The team isn't looking to trade McCollum or Turner, league sources say. In actuality, a trade not involving McCollum wouldn't bring back a player capable of moving them up to the tier with the likes of Golden State, San Antonio and presumably Houston.
Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated joined me on the Bald Faced Truth radio show (12-3p on 750-AM and 102.9-FM) to talk about why he thinks the Trail Blazers are struggling and what can be done to fix it. Golliver pointed to atrocious team defense and the absence of Al-Farouq Aminu. But also, that the Blazers would likely have to include CJ McCollum in any trade that would net them a star in return "If you're going to try and acquire another star, you've got to figure McCollum has to be in the package to do that," Golliver said.
You can hear the snickering: How is a core of Lillard, McCollum, and a Monroe-level import going to compete with the Warriors, Thunder and Spurs? This is why some executives on other teams have kicked around the possibility of Portland eventually including McCollum in a megadeal for some disgruntled star -- a path Olshey isn't considering now.
Even as Olshey has a man-crush on McCollum, and has privately said he wouldn't dream of trading him, the general manager should be looking and listening when it comes to offers for the guard between now and Feb. 18.
Oregonian columnist John Canzano thinks Portland should explore a trade for guard CJ McCollum, who’s averaging 20.8 ppg as a No. 2 option behind Damian Lillard for the Blazers this season. McCollum saw the article on Twitter and clicked on Like.
May 17, 2021 | 9:38 am EDT Update
Walton’s job security has been the subject of speculation since general manager Monte McNair was hired to replace Vlade Divac in September, but Walton said the uncertainty doesn’t concern him. “It doesn’t weigh on me because it’s the same thing I always talk about — it’s control what you can control — the same message I give my players every day,” Walton said. “To me, the storyline and the focus of Sacramento right now should be on this team and the excitement of what we saw out of our young rookie in Tyrese and the progress that De’Aaron Fox made and the year Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes had, and even Buddy — watching Buddy continue to grow and start having games with seven or eight assists and low turnovers.
“That’s what we should be talking about as a group and as an organization. So if you ask me, I’ll tell you, no, I’m not concerned at all because it doesn’t do anything for me or the group to be concerned, so we’ll stay focused on the positive and the good things. Like I continue to say, I’m excited about this group and excited about our future.” The Kings went 31-41 to finish 12th in the Western Conference for the second year in a row. They missed the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season, matching the longest postseason drought in NBA history, but despite their struggles, there were some positive developments.
“I’m very pleased and excited with a lot of the progress we made from a team standpoint and individuals,” Walton said. “You go down the line and I could make a case that even guys like Harrison, who’ve had some really good years in their career, to me he was playing some of his best basketball. … You can go down the line and, to me, that’s something that’s working. “… Look, we’re all frustrated. We want to be part of a postseason. I know the organization does, the fans do, the media does, so that part of it is disappointing, but you’ve got to look at the good, too, and the progress that so many of these guys have made this year.”
If the Wolves do not reach a contract agreement with him before free agency opens this summer, Vanderbilt will be a restricted free agent. That would give the Wolves the right to match any offer that comes in. For his part, Vanderbilt says he likes the vibe around a team that has played much better down the stretch and he doesn’t take for granted that the opportunity he long hoped to get came in Minnesota. “It’s been a rocky journey, but those guys have supported me throughout the whole way,” Vanderbilt said. “They’ve seen me put in the work, so as a teammate when I see guys putting in the work and you see them paying off, it’s a great feeling to see it work out.”
Since Hart was drafted by the Lakers in 2017, the 26-year-old has garnered a reputation as the ultimate “glue guy”. He has played every position except for center and can start (65 games) or come off the bench as a sixth man (177 games). Hart, who suffered a season-ending thumb injury in early April, finished first in rebounds (8.0 per game) among all small forwards. At the minimum, Hart will have teams lined up with their $9.5 million midlevel exception and should see offers in the $12-13 million range. According to ProFitX, the projected high on a new contract in 2021-22 for Hart would start at $11.8 million.
Bobby Marks: Rudy Gobert has 11 rebounds in 16 minutes. The All-Star for the 2nd straight season has earned a $250K bonus for minutes divided by rebounds < 3.2 Gobert will also earn a $500K bonus if he is named All-Defensive 1st team. He already hit on a $1M All-Star bonus. All 3 bonuses were deemed likely before the season and do not impact the luxury tax for Utah.
For Jokic, any talk of resting in the finale — even after Malone had given nights off to other members of the rotation in recent days — was a non-starter. Why? “Because I’m not hurt,” he said after Sunday’s game. “I’m trying to be honest with myself. If I’m not hurt, I want to play and I want to be available for my team. Just to be out there and be available, it’s a big thing, maybe, for the rest of the guys in our group that they can follow.” Jokic’s raw numbers did most of the heavy lifting in his soft-spoken MVP candidacy this season. He finished the year averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists with shooting splits of 56.6 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from 3-point range and 86.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Ultimately, it’s on the Clippers to handle their business. There shouldn’t be any excuses in the postseason, and if the Clippers didn’t know that in 2020, they know it in 2021. If it starts with health, then they have it. Lue chose to protect that over any particular opponent or whatever rotational rhythm that could have been gained with five days in between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason. “The main thing for us is just making sure we go into the playoffs healthy,” Lue said. “It was hard to run all those minutes on our young guys like that, but we just want to make sure that our core guys, our guys that we want to start the playoff with, that they’re healthy. And we was able to get through tonight with that, so I’m very happy about that.”