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Report: CJ McCollum Traded to Pelicans; Josh Hart, Draft Picks, More to Blazers

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 8, 2022

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum (3) against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York

The New Orleans Pelicans have reportedly finalized a deal to add a big-time scorer to the lineup in CJ McCollum.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Tuesday that McCollum was dealt to New Orleans Pelicans, with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN adding the Portland Trail Blazers received Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada and draft pick compensation in return.

Wojnarowski added Portland will also send Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell to New Orleans as part of the deal.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Full trade, per sources: <br>Blazers: Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Walker-Alexander, Didi Louzada, 2022 protected first-round pick, two second-round picks. <br>Pelicans: CJ McCollum, Larry Nance, Tony Snell.

Wojnarowski added the Blazers will receive the Pelicans' 2022 first-round pick that will convey if it lands between No. 5 and 14 in the draft order. If it doesn't convey, it will head to Portland in "the future."

McCollum missed more than a month earlier this season with a collapsed lung, but he returned in mid-January to once again be a go-to option offensively. Through 36 games, he is averaging 20.5 points and 4.5 assists per game.

Injuries were also a problem for McCollum in 2020-21, as a broken foot limited him to only 47 games. He was still as good as ever when healthy, setting new career highs with 23.1 points and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 40.2 percent from deep.

The production was a continuation of his career as one of the most consistent offensive players in the NBA while working alongside Damian Lillard in an explosive Blazers backcourt.

The 30-year-old has averaged at least 20 points per game in every season since 2015-16, when he won the league's Most Improved Player award. His scoring average jumped 14 points that season from the previous year.

He has also been an efficient scorer throughout his career, making 39.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc while hitting 82.0 percent from the free-throw line.

Although Lillard has deservedly gotten more attention over the years, McCollum has also been important to Portland's success in the past few seasons as an elite scorer who can take over games. That was especially evident during the Blazers' run to the 2019 Western Conference Finals, when he averaged 24.7 points in 16 playoff games.

After failing to replicate that postseason run, Portland has decided to go with a different strategy by splitting up its backcourt. The team had already signaled its plans to rebuild by dealing away Norman Powell and Robert Covington last week.  

The Trail Blazers will now remove McCollum's contract, which has $69.1 million remaining in 2022-23 and 2023-24, from their books.

It will be a high price for the Pelicans to pay, but McCollum can make it count with his impact on the court.

New Orleans has not emerged as a playoff contender despite the talent on its roster. With Zion Williamson unavailable due to a foot injury, the Pelicans have had few reliable scoring options beyond Brandon Ingram.

McCollum will give his new team another high-level scorer to help compete with the top squads in the NBA and potentially move up the standings in the Western Conference.