The Portland Trail Blazers are looking better after moving CJ McCollum, and half of their playing rotation, at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline. One former franchise superstar isn’t as impressed with their deals, despite the record. Clyde Drexler, an eight-time NBA All-Star with the Blazers and Portland’s all-time leading scorer, panned the McCollum deal in an interview with Mark Carman of FanSided this week.
The interview was part of a larger promotional program for Drexler, but he had pointed thoughts when Carman asked him about the Blazers swapping McCollum and forward Larry Nance, Jr. to the New Orleans Pelicans for a package that included Josh Hart, Didi Louzada, and a potential first-round draft pick in 2022.
When teams give up great players like that you kind of wonder what they are thinking,” Drexler said. “He (McCollum) is in his prime. Here is a guy who has been a great producer for your franchise and you give up on him. As a casual fan and as a guy who knows a little about the game I don’t understand those moves because the more good players you get the better your chances are of winning.
Drexler also had plenty to say about franchise superstar Damian Lillard, who shares a common bond with Drexler as an era-defining player entering his 30’s without having experienced ultimate success. After cautioning that the mid-1990’s Blazers broke up his own roster too soon, Drexler offered that Lillard’s priorities might change with the evolution of the franchise:
I’m sure Lillard has gotta be thinking I gotta go somewhere to compete for a title unless he just wants to stay there and finish out his career, but if he is competitive I’m sure he is looking to go someplace to win,” Drexler said. “As a player, you have to make that adjustment and you have to make that decision real quick. Do I want to stay here and be beloved and maybe I don’t win a championship but they love you here in Portland? That wasn’t enough for me.
Carman has plenty more with Clyde, reflecting on his career and the current state of the Blazers.