If the Portland Trail Blazers move on from CJ McCollum after another disappointing first-round exit, a swap for Paul George could be in the cards.
"A Western Conference executive floated the idea of the Clippers trading Paul George this summer if the team failed to meet expectations," Jabari Young of CNBC reported. "Hence, a possible McCollum to the Clippers package."
In addition to the Los Angeles Clippers, McCollum was linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat.
Both McCollum and George are under contract through at least 2023-24 after recent extensions with their teams.
A trade could make sense as a way to shake up organizations that have disappointed despite superstar talent.
The Trail Blazers have reached the playoffs in eight straight years but suffered first-round losses in four of the last five. The team fired head coach Terry Stotts after the latest loss to the Denver Nuggets.
The Clippers had even higher expectations the past two years after adding Kawhi Leonard and George. The team was expected to compete for a title but suffered a second-round loss last postseason. The squad enters Sunday in danger of a first-round exit with a Game 7 matchup against the Dallas Mavericks.
Anything other than a deep playoff run could lead to some significant changes in Los Angeles, especially with Leonard potentially leaving in free agency if he declines his $36 million player option.
A McCollum-George deal could help both teams create more balance and solve the issues within the rotation.
Portland was the second-worst defensive team in the NBA this season in efficiency, with the backcourt of Lillard and McCollum struggling to defend bigger guards. Adding George—who has been named to one of the NBA All-Defense teams four times—would give the team a major weapon on that end who can also contribute offensively.
The Clippers could also add some much-needed backcourt scoring from McCollum while also reducing the redundancies at forward. It would help replace the production previously provided by Lou Williams at guard.