Portland Trail Blazers: Best 3 possible trades for CJ McCollum

CJ McCollum, Jaylen Brown, Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, Jaylen Brown, Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers could land a three-team blockbuster deal this offseason

As previously mentioned, the Blazers could find it difficult to find a trade partner that matches their criteria. Many teams may be looking to land CJ but may not have the ammunition necessary. Other teams might have a piece the Blazers could use but might be looking to enter a rebuild and would have no use for McCollum.

This is the exact reason three-team trades exist.

Why the Blazers do it:

Bradley Beal. Beal is currently on an astronomical ascension, finishing the 2020-2021 season as the second-highest scorer in the league, just behind Steph Curry at a bonkers 31.3 points per game.

While CJ provides most of what Beal does, Bradley simply does everything at a higher level. Most importantly is the gap between CJ’s top-end scoring and Beal’s godlike ability to fill up the scoreboard. The Washington Wizards superstar is nearly unmatched in his ability to score the basketball, off-the-ball or off-the-dribble.

In 2019-2020, before Russell Westbrook came to town, Beal put the Wizards on his back. He finished second in scoring that year as well at 30.4 points per game with 55 percent of his baskets coming unassisted.

This season, Beal finished second in total clutch points, behind only Portland’s own Damian Lillard.

Beal also has the potential to be a much better defender than McCollum. While he hasn’t spent much time worrying about his defense, Beal has never played for a championship-caliber team. He has the athletic tools necessary to at least be an average defender at the shooting guard position, something CJ will never be able to do at his size.

While this move would be mortgaging Portland’s future, the reward is worth the risk. If the Lillard-Beal pairing is as successful as expected, those future picks won’t mean much anyways.

Why the Knicks do it:

New York has been starving for a star since Carmelo Anthony packed his bags. Kristaps Porzingis filled that role for a little bit, but the Unicorn never experienced enough success with the Knicks to fully satisfy that craving.

Now, the Knicks have began a new winning era under coach Tom Thibodeau. While Thibs led the young team to a surprisingly inspiring record, New York’s return to the postseason was short-lived. The Atlanta Hawks made quick work exposing the Knicks lack of a go-to scorer as 32 year old Derrick Rose had to pour in the majority of New York’s points.

The Knicks have been banking on their big market and name recognition for years now in hopes of landing a huge fish in free agency. That hasn’t panned out well, as they watched two superstars in their prime sign with their intercity rivals in the Brooklyn Nets.

No, New York will most likely have to continue to shed the bad aura they’ve created for themselves through the years. This season was a great start. Adding CJ’s scoring would be a massive second step.

For all of CJ’s weaknesses, he’s still an elite scorer. Last season, he shot 41.9 percent on pull-up jumpers, 36.7 on off-the-bounce triples, and scored 56.8 percent of his baskets unassisted.

McCollum absolutely has the requisite skills to be a number one option on offense. The Knicks should give him the opportunity to be one. CJ is well-worth Immanuel Quickley and Dallas’s 2021 late first round pick.

Why the Wizards do it:

The Wizards have been teeter-tottering between playoff purgatory and a rebuild for years now. Playoff purgatory is that middle section of the NBA standings where a team at best can compete for a low playoff seed, with a quick first round exit all but guaranteed, and at worst will finish with a lottery pick in the teens.

It’s time for Washington to lean full on to the rebuild. In this move, the Wizards acquire two young players, one who displayed future all-star potential in Quickley. They also nab three first round picks and two potential pick swaps. This would be a pretty good way to guarantee a quick rebuild. Even if those picks land late in the first-round, with that many chances at finding a diamond in the rough, the Wizards should have a decent shot at landing a future cornerstone.