TUALATIN – Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is thankful to remain in Portland after inking a 4-year, $106 million contract extension late last month. In his opening statements to the press in Friday morning’s conference at the Trail Blazers practice facility, McCollum noted that he was already house hunting in Portland as a rookie, picturing himself in the Pacific Northwest long-term. He thanked Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, GM Neil Olshey, and his agent Sam Goldfeder for making his vision a reality.
Olshey, denying that next summer’s CBA renegotiation would influence how the team approached this extension, preached a team-first culture, explaining that everyone in Portland wants to be in Portland, and that this roster’s best days are yet to come. McCollum echoed this sentiment, discussing his excitement to play with newly signed Trail Blazer Festus Ezeli, who has "championship-level experience, defensively."
Upon the initial agreement to terms, McCollum celebrated the extension with his girlfriend and a bottle of Willamette Valley pinot. Having secured his future with the Blazers, he looked back at the time he spent injured as a rookie and the injury endured by former Trail Blazer Wesley Matthews and "stays paranoid" because "anything can happen." One cannot take anything for granted.
McCollum also stated that this new money does not automatically thrust him into a leadership role. He will continue to lead when it is time to lead and follow when it is time to follow, as he has always done. He is not above listening to guys like Luis Montero at the end of the bench when they have something useful to contribute—perfectly fitting the team-first bill Olshey pushed.
Ultimately, the presser was a celebration of years to come and a show of support from McCollum’s family—genetic and Trail Blazers. They all sat front row including, Errick McCollum, for whom the conference had been delayed while he competed overseas. Sliding in late was teammate Damian Lillard, sporting a Lillard/McCollum ’16 t-shirt and a proud grin. Everyone was happy to commemorate McCollum’s hard work paying off.
Maurice Harkless, who also re-signed with the Trail Blazers, was not present for the conference. He is currently in Florida and may or may not have his own at a later date.