The Portland Trail Blazers are set to be in control of any potential major shift in the NBA this offseason. They will be the ones that help determine and set the gears into motion for any chaos this summer.
After another early exit in the NBA playoffs, the Blazers let go of long time coach Terry Stotts. Speculation has already begun that a shift on the roster could be next.
It’s a harsh reality for the Blazers after they were eliminated in round one by the Denver Nuggets. It marked the fourth time in the last five years that Portland was booted from the playoffs in the first round. It’s left many scratching their heads.
Now the possibility looms that Damian Lillard could ask for a trade or that Portland trades its second best asset on their own in CJ McCollum. However, if any trade is made by the Blazers this offseason, Damian Lillard would be traded before McCollum.
Trading CJ McCollum would be putting a bandaid over a situation that needs stitches. The Blazers could go the route of acquiring draft capital in a trade for McCollum or they could go explore getting back NBA ready talent now. But in any scenario in where McCollum is sent packing, it’s not as though the Blazers would be getting a player back that is wildly better. That’s not exactly how trades work.
A game plan that consists of a McCollum trade could shake things up and maybe that’s all the Blazers need. That’s what they would be banking in on at least. In the last few years of the Terry Stotts era, the Blazers had really maxed out as much as they could and started to plateau. Trading McCollum for another solid NBA player wouldn’t be enough to put them over the top in the loaded Western Conference.
Trading Damian Lillard would send a clear message for the Blazers. That message being, it’s time to reshuffle everything and rebuild it. Rebuild is never a word any fanbase wants to hear at any point in time but, even those in Portland would agree the constant first round exits in the playoffs are growing old and stale.
Lillard being traded would bring back a massive haul for the Blazers but would also likely put other ideas into motion like then trading McCollum as well. The tough part for the Blazers to try and navigate through this offseason will be deciding if a new coach and another piece will put them over the hump or if they do just need a fresh start with Lillard getting a change of scenery elsewhere.
Either way, the Blazers hold a lot of the chips this summer in the landscape of the NBA. Trading Lillard would be a titanic shift for the franchise and the league but perhaps it’s what is in the best interest of both sides. Trading just McCollum would be puzzling and wouldn’t have Portland any closer to leaving round one than they’ve been in four of the last five years.
Odds are they will try and do some convincing if need be with Lillard and keep their fingers crossed that a new coach with the same unit yields different results. Whichever road they take, the entire league will be keeping a close eye on the Blazers.