Northwest Notes: McCollum, Towns, Daigneault, Maledon

After James Harden added the Trail Blazers to his list of preferred destinations this week, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard made a powerful statement Saturday night for keeping the current backcourt together, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. McCollum especially stood out in the win over the Rockets with 44 points, eight assists, and a game-winning three-pointer in overtime.

“What am I supposed to think?” McCollum responded when asked about trade rumors. “I play the same position as James. If there is a trade for James, who is going to be in the trade?”

McCollum’s $29.3MM salary also makes him a logical candidate to be included if the Trail Blazers need to match salaries with Houston, Quick adds. The 29-year-old has been a 20+ PPG scorer for the past five years and would help replace some of the offense the Rockets will lose by dealing Harden. McCollum prefers to try to win a title with Lillard in Portland.

“I think besides Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson), we are probably the only backcourt that not only gets along, but like, empowers the other,” McCollum said. “There is no competition. I don’t force my way into the game if he is playing well; he doesn’t force his way into the game. I just let whatever is going to happen, happen. I’m comfortable not taking shots, I’m comfortable playing a role. I do what is necessary for the team.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves got a scare when Karl-Anthony Towns had to leave Saturday’s game after falling hard on his left wrist, notes Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune. Towns returned to help Minnesota win at Utah, but the team won’t know how much damage was done until he undergoes further testing. “I didn’t want to just quit the game and go get X-rays and stuff,” he said. “I wanted to be available in case my team needed me, and just be out there cheering them on. I did what I had to do.”
  • Mark Daigneault impressed Thunder players with his calm demeanor in his first NBA game as a head coach, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Daigneault picked up his first win Saturday, but not before OKC let a big lead slip away at Charlotte. “We, myself, almost gave the game away,” said Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. “But (Daigneault was) super composed, kept our heads up, kept us confident. He was our leader down the stretch, even though things weren’t going the right way. And just in the right mind frame. Cool, calm, collected.”
  • Former NBA guard Tony Parker tells French outlet L’Equipe (hat tip to Stefan Djordjevic of EuroHoops) that Thunder rookie Theo Maledon should have been a first-round pick, but his stock fell because he wasn’t used properly in Europe by Zvezdan Mitrovic, the former head coach of Parker’s ASVEL franchise. OKC grabbed Maledon with the 34th selection.
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12 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: McCollum, Towns, Daigneault, Maledon

  1. phillyballers

    CJ at 29M > Harden at 41M. If the Blazers made a move, Myles Turner, Aaron Gordon, Bertans or if they became available John Collins or Markkanen would make more sense.

    Mainly bc they’d want CJ and 1sts. Whereas they may be able to just use picks and some contracts.

  2. Steven St Croix

    Harden is a hall of famer, CJ is not. Do the deal if you have the option.

  3. rxbrgr

    How does one single overtime game speak volumes compared to years of (a much younger) McCollum-Lillard tandem ending futilely in early playoff rounds? Assuming Portland has championship aspirations, sample size alone should make it an easy call for a Harden upgrade over McCollum, if negotiations were ever to get to that point.

      • rxbrgr

        The question is really whether you’d prefer a Harden-Lillard duo or McCollum-Lillard duo. The answer shouldn’t be hard.

  4. El Don

    KAT is one of the toughest dudes in the league, guy is made of steel!
    One of the hardest working players also, slow start but it will get sooo much better, guy has a galactic talent!

  5. KnickerbockerAl

    It’s not just about numbers and talent. If you read what CJ says about playing with Lillard. It says volumes about two all star guards playing together. Excellent use of words. One best explanations I ever heard. And CJ is a future HOFer is only 28. And yes he answered the Harden rumors. Both played great. But one Turned the ball over at end. One hit the game winner. Did you even notice that. Blazers don’t need Harden. They could use a PF like Aldridge or Love. Their backcourt is one of best. Why mess with that chemistry. Harden is a great offensive player. But he has to be able to mesh with other players. I’m not a Harden guy. The best I fit I see for him is Warriors. They need his scoring and playmaking. He fits their offense and chemistry. Plus they got Wiggins and Obrue to use in trade. Even with a third team. I’d never give up Wiseman for him. This to me makes most sense. He can flourish in Warriors offense. And Curry plus Dre will keep him in check.

    • El Don

      CJ is good, but never been All-Star or All-NBA… so I can’t see him ever been a HoF unless he gets a lot better in his 30’s.
      On the other hand Harden locked his place like 5 years ago or so!

  6. Scott bever

    The real question:
    Does Dame want Harden?

    Cj no doubt on any other team could and would be a leading scorer. He is a Alfa. He respects Dame and the game so he defers. Cj on several other teams would be named a ALL STAR. If you have watched Cj, hes proven. He exactly fills the roll Blazers ask of him! Does Harden?

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