NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Kevin Durant, CJ McCollum's Injury and More

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2019

The Clippers would like to pursue a big-name free agent like Kevin Durant.
The Clippers would like to pursue a big-name free agent like Kevin Durant.Ben Margot/Associated Press

Rosters are set as the NBA season has reached its home stretch.

While the focus is on the final weeks of the regular season and the upcoming playoffs, the future is always top of mind for the large majority of NBA teams.

The Los Angeles Clippers are one of those teams, and while they are 40-30 and currently inside the playoff structure as the No. 8 team in the Western Conference, owner Steve Ballmer is not satisfied.

He has said he wants to be in the playoffs, have quality free agents and become a championship contender, and do it quickly.

Chasing free agents means going after the big names, and the Clippers have the salary-cap room to court two maximum free agents.

The Clippers, coached by former Boston Celtics boss Doc Rivers, plan to go after Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors and may also pursue Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics, per Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

Any one of those superstars could help the Clippers rise to the No. 3 or 4 seeded team in the Western Conference, but bringing in two could turn the team into the legitimate championship contender Ballmer wants to see.

Most of the conversation about Los Angeles usually involves the Lakers and how they will find appropriate teammates for LeBron James. However the Clippers have their own plans, and they could steal the headlines from their neighbors with a couple of big moves in the offseason.

The Portland Trail Blazers are breathing a sigh of relief after guard C.J. McCollum apparently avoided a serious injury after crashing to the floor in a game Saturday night against the San Antonio Spurs.

Sources have told ESPN NBA insider Bob Wojnowski that the 27-year-old suffered a popliteus strain, and the injury will be re-examined in a week.

McCollum drove to the hoop midway through the third quarter when the injury occurred. He was in a lot of pain and clutched at his left knee before he was helped to the locker room by a pair of teammates.

"I went up for a layup, a left-hand layup, and big fella (Jakob Poeltl) blocked it," McCollum said after Saturday's game, per ESPN. "I landed on my foot, kind of trapped my foot on the ground, felt my knee kind of twist. I was in pain. It hurts. You never want to get hurt, man. Not ever, especially at this point in the season. There's nothing I can do about it but rehab and see what they say."

The Blazers are in fourth place in the Western Conference, and having a healthy McCollum is a requirement if they are going to do anything in the playoffs.