The Portland Trail Blazers lost their sixth straight game on Tuesday night, falling to the Orlando Magic 113-95. Another defeat pushes Portland to 21-34 on the season and 11th in the Western Conference, at real risk of tumbling even further down the standings with the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings nipping at their heels. But a blowout loss to another bottom-dweller, thankfully, is nowhere near the biggest news in Rip City.

After the game, Chauncey Billups commented for the first time on Tuesday’s blockbuster trade that sent C.J. McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, a protected 2022 first-round pick and a pair of second-rounders.

“I just like the fact that over the last week, 10 days or however long it’s been, we’ve created the opportunity where we can have a ton of possibilities in the future for this team, for this organization,” he said. “And I’m looking forward to that.”

https://twitter.com/BlazersNationCP/status/1491138960554295297

The trade not only cleared Portland of more than $10 million in committed salary for next season while further stocking its coffer of assets, but also freed up cap space that the front office could use to lure a bigger fish this summer. Several plugged-in league reporters, for instance, have mentioned the possibility of the Blazers making a play for Ben Simmons that would allow the Philadelphia 76ers to subsequently sign James Harden outright in free agency.

Meanwhile, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer noted on Tuesday that Portland remained in talks with the Detroit Pistons on a potential Jerami Grant trade even after agreeing to terms with New Orleans for McCollum.

Clearly, the Blazers aren’t done making moves before next season. But Tuesday marks the end of an era in Portland regardless, a reality hardly lost on Billups while discussing the virtues of McCollum, the player and person.

“For me, I’m grateful that I had the little time that I had with CJ, to be honest with you. He’s a real pro, a real vet. A leader,” Billups said. “The city is gonna miss CJ. He’s been a huge part of what’s gone on here and the success this team has had for a long time, and it’s not easy to lose guys like that. You can’t just turn the page so quickly. I’m pretty sure he feels the same way.”

Are you 1000% an NBA fan?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch newsletter.

*Sign up now and receive your own one-of-a-kind ClutchPoints photoshop with yourself and your favorite player!

The Blazers and their fans will have plenty of time to reflect on McCollum’s standout tenure for the season’s remainder. After all, it’s not like Portland—which owes its first-round pick to the Chicago Bulls if it falls in the lottery—will be striving for the play-in tournament, let alone the playoffs, over the next eight weeks. It seems likely Damian Lillard’s season is over, too.

Until Thursday afternoon comes and goes, though, the Blazers must remain vigilant. They still have more wheeling and dealing to do, and there’s no indication the front office plans on sitting out the final hours leading up to the trade deadline.