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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Jaylen Brown, Carmelo Anthony, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers
Jaylen Brown, Carmelo Anthony, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers could turn CJ McCollum into two elite perimeter defenders

The most likely teams to strike a deal for CJ are teams in a similar situation with the Blazers: teams on the cusp of serious contention, but in need of a shakeup. A team that mirrors Portland’s distress in the East is the Boston Celtics.

One of the biggest needs for the Blazers has always been perimeter defense. For the Celtics, despite having young stars and a loaded roster, there just always seems to be something missing in their recipe: go-to scoring and three-level shot creation.

This trade would address needs for both of the teams involved.

Why the Blazers do it:

As mentioned, this trade would instantly turn the Blazers from a poor defense into an elite one. Portland would score two of the best perimeter defenders in the league in this deal. Jaylen Brown is a budding two-way star; his ability to shutdown opposing wings while also scoring with or without the ball would be the perfect complement to Dame.

Last season, Brown put up 24.7 points per game while slashing 48/40/76 as the second option. He also hit an elite rate of his catch-and-shoot 3-balls at 43 percent.

The Blazers also add Marcus Smart here who is way more than just a salary shoo-in. Smart is one of the best defenders in the league, bar none. His toughness and ability to aggravate the other team are things the Blazers are sorely lacking.

Smart would become the Blazers primary ball-handler off the bench, allowing him to run rampant on offense. His biggest defect has always been his poor decision making. Portland can live with the bad with him coming off the pine and providing elite defense and secondary playmaking when asked.

With this move, the Blazers starting five of Dame, Norman Powell, Brown, Robert Covington, and Jusuf Nurkic could compete with any team in the league. If extra defense is needed, Smart could come in for Powell to create a lineup with four plus defenders that could shutdown any offense.

Why the Celtics do it:

This trade really only makes sense if the Celtics also move on from Kemba Walker. The former University of Connecticut Husky was brought to Boston to get buckets and do virtually nothing else. For whatever reason, Kemba has been unable to find his scoring touch with the Celtics.

If the Celts decide to move on from Walker, they’ll be hard pressed to find a better option to fill the role they meant for Walker than CJ McCollum. Despite his weaknesses on defense and with playmaking, CJ is absolutely elite at creating his own shot. McCollum is a threat to score from all three-levels at any time off the dribble.

He can also play off the ball and allow Jayson Tatum to cook.

Since Jaylen Brown is a rising star significantly younger than McCollum and Smart is a highly coveted asset, the Blazers will need to throw in some sweeteners to make this deal happen.

The inclusion of Anfernee Simons gives the Celtics another young asset that could either grow with the team or be used as capital for any further deals that Boston may want to make.

The 2023 first round pick will likely not be very valuable with Portland’s new duo of Dame and Brown, but it’s still a nice cherry to top the deal.

It feels like the tandem of Tatum and Brown are almost too similar. Tatum is the future of the Celtics. If Boston decides to capitalize on a Jaylen Brown trade, there may not be a better deal out there.

For the Portland faithful, losing CJ and Simons would be a hard pill to swallow, but the pain would subside pretty quickly watching Dame, Brown, and the rest of the new-look Blazers tear through the league together.