Blazers’ CJ McCollum says Bill Simmons tried to get him traded for 5 years
Every NBA season brings a trade rumor or two involving the Portland Trail Blazers’ high-powered duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. In the latter’s case, he’s often the one involved in potential musings, recalling a recent swap idea for Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon.
“What’s his name… Bill Simmons has been trying to get me traded for like five years,” McCollum said the day Simmons’ website The Ringer posed a McCollum for Gordon trade, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. “There’s a proposed trade for me three times a year by him. I admire the fact that he thinks I’m worthy of being traded to… 12 teams.”
Blazers president Neil Olshey has been firm in his desire to keep both Lillard and McCollum as the pillars of this team, but when Portland overachieves, it’s often McCollum who is considered the first to go, rather than Lillard — the face of the franchise.
Lillard recently explained he won’t lobby for guys to acquire or point fingers at guys who should go, claiming it’s just not the way he likes to do business.
“When you look around the league, you just see the talent. Teams are stacking up on talent,” Lillard said. “You see a lot of guys teaming up and guys wanting to be on the same team. When you want to compete with that — like on a championship level — you gotta try to fight that with firepower. For us, I think our chemistry, our style of play, and the coaching we have — that’s a big thing for us. So like, we lean on that. We’ve been successful with it. But when you talk about a championship level, it’s tough to compete with those ultra-talented teams — Golden State, Oklahoma City, teams that just have player after player after player.
“So you don’t want to go into the trade deadline just doing stuff to do it, then you break up something that was working for you,” Lillard said. “So I think you are almost better off taking your chances with ‘Let’s see if togetherness if going to beat the talent at some point.”’
The Blazers have had a recent need for shot-blocking and interior defense, but the safe bet is that neither Lillard nor McCollum will get moved this trade deadline, no matter how many fantasy swaps are lined out in the web.