The NBA Trade Deadline is exactly three weeks away, which means hypothetical trade ideas are all the rave. One Portland Trail Blazers trade idea comes via The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks, who suggests a deal centered on swapping CJ McCollum and Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon.
Tjarks highlights the often-said point about Portland’s undersized backcourt as a need for change:
He and Lillard seem to have a good relationship, and there doesn’t appear to be any friction about their place in the pecking order. The issue is more that they aren’t making each other better. They both have the shooting ability to play off the other, but a backcourt with two 6-foot-3 guards is giving up a lot of size on defense.
When a team like the Pelicans decides to blitz Portland’s pick-and-rolls, a “playmaking forward” would be better suited for Lillard. Enter Gordon:
Gordon fits that role perfectly. He is more well-rounded than any of the current frontcourt players in Portland. At 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan, he is an elite athlete with a high basketball IQ who can match up with at least three positions on defense. He came into the league with the ability to put the ball on the floor, read the defense, and make the right decision, and he has worked tirelessly to improve as a shooter.
Moving Gordon would allow young Magic bigs in Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba to get more run and continue their development. Adding a “high-level point guard,” like McCollum, could prove essential for their growth:
They would have no answer at point guard and no easy path to getting one beyond hoping they can develop someone they select in the draft. McCollum might not be happy about being traded, but Orlando could at least sell him on being The Man there. Either way, they would have long-term security since he’s under contract for two more seasons after this one.
Tjarks eventually lands on a deal of McCollum and either Moe Harkless or Meyers Leonard for Gordon and Terrence Ross. Tjarks’ full thoughts on the deal are worth reading, which you can do so here.
Gordon is averaging 15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game this season, including a career-best 35.2 percent from 3-point land. He is in the first year of a four-year, $76 million extension signed this summer.
Let us know your thoughts on the proposed deal in the comments.