CJ McCollum Trade Rumors: Blazers Rejecting Draft Pick Deals amid Damian Lillard Buzz

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 22, 2021

Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers do not plan to trade CJ McCollum for draft picks, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic.

Quick reported teams have been calling the Trail Blazers about McCollum and offering first-round picks in return, but the front office is "not entertaining those offers because they are in a win-now phase."

Portland currently doesn't hold a pick in the 2021 NBA draft but could buy its way back into the second round.

The strategy could be telling during an important offseason that has already featured a rare coaching change. Chauncey Billups is taking over as the Blazers' head coach after Terry Stotts spent the past nine seasons at the helm.

After four first-round exits in the last five years, the Blazers are nearing an inflection point. If they can't construct a contender around Damian Lillard, they'll need to begin a rebuild at some point.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers have been among the "most aggressive suitors" for the six-time All-Star. However, few team executives expect the Blazers to trade Lillard this offseason.

Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian disputed a TrueHoop report saying Lillard planned to request a trade.

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McCollum could still be dealt this offseason, but the team would clearly prefer known commodities rather than rookies.

The 29-year-old set a new career high with 23.1 points per game last season—his sixth straight year of averaging at least 20 points per game—but he missed 25 games with a broken foot. Questions also linger about whether the undersized backcourt of Lillard and McCollum can find consistent success together.

The organization could seek a better fit alongside Lillard this offseason, although it will take more than draft picks to get him out of Portland.

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