CJ McCollum’s bold take on Damian Lillard Trade

NBA Analytics Network

Former Portland Trail Blazers guard and current New Orleans Pelicans star CJ McCollum spoke about Damian Lillard’s NBA future with the Blazers on ESPN’s “First Take.”

McCollum believes Lillard’s time in Portland is coming to an end.

“The market will dictate what happens here,” McCollum said. “If I were a gambler, I’d say this is the last we’ve seen of him [in Portland].”

The Blazers have the third overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. They can pack that pick with players from the current roster to gain a star or keep the pick and draft a young player. Lillard wants to compete for a championship, so he’d probably like Portland to get him more win-now players instead of young guys who need time to develop.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard & Portland Trail Blazers Updates

However, the Blazers may want a young stud who has the chance to become a superstar later on. This creates a potential clash between Lillard and the front office.

Lillard has said several times that he wants to spend his entire career with the Blazers. Portland General Manager Joe Cronin said so Jake Fisher of Yahoo Sports that he wants to maximize Lillard’s timeline.

“We are a team trying to win and maximize Damian’s timeline. This was an important night for us,” Cronin told Yahoo Sports. “Front offices across the league think highly of this design, so you’d think a lot of teams sitting (on the podium) tonight would get a lot of calls from teams trying to move up and maneuver.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard & Portland Trail Blazers Updates

The Blazers won just 33 games this season. They have missed the playoffs two years in a row after making the postseason for eight consecutive years. Lillard, 32, played in 58 games this season and averaged 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists while shooting 46.3% from the field, 37.1% from outside the arc and 91.4 % from the free throw line. He signed a two-year extension of up to $121.8 million for veterans in July 2022.

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