After being swept in the playoffs by the New Orleans Pelicans, multiple national outlets have asked whether the Blazers need trade CJ McCollum in order to achieve some level of roster balance. Dane Carbaugh from NBC Sports gave his take on Portland’s situation, and doesn’t think the Blazers will be looking to deal their second-best scorer:
So here we are, with both the Blazers and fans in Portland back to wondering the same thing: just what can be done to fix this roster and maximize Lillard’s prime?
We have to start with the basic fact that Portland is not going to trade McCollum.
Part of the internal friction for the Blazers is that McCollum is the guy Olshey seems most emotionally attached to. Olshey was fully at the helm of the organization when McCollum was drafted in 2013, and thus McCollum is wholly an Olshey guy. Portland had scouted Lillard long before Olshey arrived 24 days prior to the 2012 NBA Draft. Not that Olshey values one over the other, but there’s an odd, unspoken understanding that Olshey wants to make McCollum work along with Lillard partly as a matter of pride.
So if we move away from the possibility of changing the overall theory of a roster built around those two guards, where does that leave the Blazers? The answer comes with a boggling number of variables.
In a piece well worth reading for Blazer fans, Carbaugh also goes in-depth on Maurice Harkless and Evan Turner’s respective performances, Terry Stotts’ job as head coach, and Neil Olshey’s shaping of the current roster.