Windhorst: CJ McCollum, Pelicans Discussing Contract Extension Amid NBA Free Agency

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 24: CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts against the Phoenix Suns during Game Four of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center on April 24, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans and guard CJ McCollum have reportedly had talks regarding a new contract.

Speaking Wednesday on Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective, ESPN's Brian Windhorst said he's heard the Pels and McCollum have discussed a new deal even though he may not be eligible to sign one yet.

ESPN's Andrew Lopez chimed in, noting that McCollum may be able to sign a new contract as soon as August.

McCollum signed a three-year, $100 million extension with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2019, and that deal runs through the 2023-24 season.

New Orleans acquired the 30-year-old McCollum last season in a blockbuster trade with the Blazers. The Pels sent a first-round pick, two second-round picks, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky and Didi Louzada to Portland for McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell.

McCollum went on to enjoy the best production of his nine-year career in 26 games with the Pelicans, averaging 24.3 points, 5.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals, all of which would have been career highs over the course of a full season.

The former Lehigh star also made 2.7 three-pointers per game with the Pelicans and shot 49.3 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from beyond the arc.

The Pels went 13-13 in games McCollum played and made the postseason play-in tournament, which saw them beat the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers to clinch the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

The Pelicans then took two games from the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, who had the best record in the NBA, before falling 4-2 in the first round.

Given the success the Pels enjoyed even though star forward Zion Williamson missed the entire season because of injury, there is a great deal of excitement regarding the future.

Assuming the squad stays together before the 2022-23 season begins, McCollum, Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas will all play together for the first time, giving New Orleans one of the best cores in the NBA.

McCollum figures to be a huge part of the Pelicans' success next season and beyond. He boasts a 19.2 points-per-game average in his career and makes just shy of 40 percent of his three-point attempts, meaning he will be leaned on to spread the floor and open things up inside for Williamson and Valanciunas.

While McCollum has never been an All-Star, the 2015-16 NBA Most Improved Player will be one next season if he maintains the level of play he showed with the Pelicans previously, and the price of a contract extension would only go up.