As NBA trade rumors heat up, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has lent his perspective to many who have asked for it in an ongoing Twitter Q&A session. Today, Kyler heavily indicated that Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum is not available for trade, despite the eager fidgeting of both Portland fans looking for a blockbuster season-saver and outsiders hoping to pry the rising star from an ostensibly sinking ship.
No indications of that at all. This is something other team's fans buy into. https://t.co/JyUbrAE8aO— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 9, 2017
This is in large part because McCollum is a huge element of Portland’s success—so much so that the Trail Blazers signed him to a 4-year, $106 million extension last summer—but perhaps also because that extension makes it incredibly difficult to trade McCollum for a reasonable return in the first place.
The most salary the Blazers could take back in a McCollum trade is $4.9m ($150% plus $100), so Noel does fit that. Its just not on the table https://t.co/ufElv1ho2v— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 9, 2017
McCollum’s contract is what is known as a “Poison Pill.” This means that his outgoing salary in the event of a trade is equal to his current salary ($3.2M) as far as Portland is concerned, which, in turn, means that they can only receive a maximum incoming salary equal to 150 percent of McCollum’s current contract + $100,000 ($4.9M).
However; for the team receiving McCollum, the incoming salary is counted as his current salary averaged with his average yearly salary after his extension takes effect, coming out to roughly $22.0M. Because the outgoing and incoming salaries are so lopsided, trades involving a Poison Pill typically require more contracts in play and/or a third team to absorb excess salary.
Barring a sudden and drastic turn of events, McCollum is likely to remain with the Trail Blazers through the remainder of the 2016-17 NBA season. Once his extension kicks in, his contract is more tradeable, should the Trail Blazers explore a separation of their defensively deficient backcourt. Either way, it sounds like he is not on the table.
Now in his fourth NBA season, the reigning Most Improve Player is averaging a career-high 23.6 points per game and boasts incredible efficiency from deep. While Lillard spent five games recovering from a left ankle sprain, McCollum led the struggling Trail Blazers to a 2-3 record, scoring 31.2 points per game, including a career-high 43 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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