The official start to the NBA offseason is still a few weeks away, but that has not prevented speculation surrounding a potential deal that includes Sixers wing Ben Simmons and Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum. Both the Blazers and Sixers exited the postseason in a less-than-ideal fashion, which could lead to significant changes in the near future.
In regards to a Blazers-Sixers deal that centers around McCollum and Simmons, CNBC’s Jabari Young explained that Portland might expect more than just a straight-across swap.
Other rumors suggest Portland’s CJ McCollum could be traded to the Sixers during the offseason to help alleviate the Trail Blazers’ problems. McCollum will make $30 million next season and played college hoops at nearby Lehigh University. So it’ll be a mini homecoming for the Ohio native.
Behind the scenes, scouts say McCollum is a worker, pointing to his improved game since arriving in the NBA in 2013. He’s one of the better scorers in the league, not afraid to shoot 3-pointers (attempted a career-high 8.9 last season), and he’s a career 82% free throw shooter. Injuries are always a concern with McCollum, 29, but considering today’s NBA, where shooting is vital, the Blazers may seek more than just Simmons in any negotiations.
Young’s story also looked at the potential for Rich Paul, who is Simmons’ agent, to leverage a trade that would move the current Sixers wing to the Lakers.
Could a package centered around Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope suffice? The Sixers get more 3-point shooting to surround franchise star Joel Embiid and gain roster balance. Paul gets to keep his clients together, and where he’s based.
McCollum is under contract with the Blazers through the 2023-24 season. In the final three years of his deal, the former Lehigh standout is set to earn approximately $100 million. In the 2020-21 season, McCollum averaged 23.1 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting from the field.
Simmons, who is roughly five years younger than McCollum, finished behind only Rudy Gobert for Defensive Player of the Year honors this season. Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game in 58 outings this year. The 24-year-old Australian possesses a career three-point percentage of 14.7. Simmons agreed to a five-year, $170 million extension with the Sixers in the summer of 2019. His current contract runs through the 2024-25 season.
You can read Young’s full story at CNBC.