Northwest Notes: McCollum, Nurkic, Diallo, Horford, Wolves

Both CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) are due to be reassessed on March 2, and the results of those evaluations will be crucial for a Trail Blazers team looking to make a second-half push, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. The hope is that McCollum and Nurkic will be able to return shortly after the All-Star break to complement Damian Lillard, who says he thinks about his missing teammates constantly.

“Maybe y’all haven’t been doing that, but I do that all the time,” Lillard said. “I don’t think you have two players at the level those guys are and not go into a game thinking of them.

“… You always see moments where they can help the team and impact the game,” he continued. “It hasn’t been just the last two games (both losses). Even when we were winning, those weren’t running-away wins. Those were down-to-the-wire wins, so even in those games, it was like, man, it would have been good to have those guys out there.”

The Trail Blazers are also missing fourth-year big man Zach Collins, but there’s no indication that he’s close to a return after being ruled out indefinitely following December ankle surgery.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Thunder may be without wing Hamidou Diallo for the rest of the first half, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman, who says Diallo has been ruled out for at least the next two games due to a right groin injury.
  • While he may prefer to be playing for a contender, big man Al Horford has embraced his role as a leader for the rebuilding Thunder since being acquired in an offseason trade, Mussatto writes in a separate story for The Oklahoman. “We have a great group of guys,” Horford said. “It’s something that has really impressed me since I’ve gotten here, just the willingness of our group to work, to focus, to try to be better. It makes it easier for me. It motivates me to be there for them and try to help them in any way that I can.”
  • Following the Timberwolves‘ swift hiring of Chris Finch as Ryan Saunders‘ full-time replacement, the National Basketball Coaches Association criticized the team for not conducting a “thorough and transparent search of candidates from a wide range of diverse backgrounds,” as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune outlines.
newest oldest

7 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: McCollum, Nurkic, Diallo, Horford, Wolves

  1. KnickerbockerAl

    Not sure it can be done with TE. But if I’m Boston I move Thompson for Horford. Chemistry wise he fits Celtics well. I’m sure he would be pumped to be back.

  2. Simmons>Russ

    Blazers have injuries issues every season. Nurkic Collins McCollum Hood all come to mind.

    Think they might need to re look at the way they train and their fitness coaches and things.

    But aside from that I actually wouldn’t mind them making a trade in order to have a better cash CD in the playoffs for Dame.

    I’d trade McCollum, Derrick Jones Jr, Zach Collins and a second round pick or two for Aaron Gordon, Terrance Ross and Mo Bamba.

    Blazers already have Trent Jr playing SG in McCollums absence and he’s been great. You could move Covington back into SF his best spot and have Gordon at PF. Gordon gives you close to 15-8 most nights and can do a little bit of everything. You get Terrence Ross as a 6th man for impact off the bench and Mo Bamba as a back up to Nurkic and Kanter. Bamba hasn’t had any opportunities in Orlando but I still he has a high ceiling and could be a great pick up.

    Orlando would get an upgrade at SG in McCollum who could make them a tough playoff threat with Vuce and Anthony. Jones Jr is young and interesting at the SF spot which is a position they have struggle to fill for a while. Then lastly Collins in order to make the salaries work but if he’s fit he add something different to Bamba that they may like more. Magic would be better immediately and in the future you have an interesting mix with Fultz Anthony Jones Jr Isaacs and Collins.
    Getting McCollum and Jones Jr would mean they are also able to shop Fouriner at the deadline and could end up with more picks or another asset for the future

    • Cap & Crunch

      Yea just a gut feeling if they dont get to Western Finals CJ will be dealt in the offseason –

      Should be pretty nice market for sellers with such a barren free agency

  3. El Don

    Can’t understand what the coaches association has to whine about here, MIN did what they had the right to do, if they want a diverse coach maybe they can pay the salary for MIN otherwise the team has the right to choose whomever they feel like, no one has a say in that, as simple as!
    Also the fact that they had zeroed on one candidate without all the circus of going through dozens of interviews with many diverse type of coaches is a positive, I can only wish all the teams knew who they wanna hire without all the circus, really hate it!
    As a fan of Saunders, not happy about the firing, but as a hoops fan I think MIN has shown the way here to all the other teams on how hiring must be done!
    Well done MIN!

    • x%sure

      Yes it’s different in midseason; best not to draw things out, or attract unwanted attention in a disappointing year… and, give the GM a chance with a vision. And the GM is quite aware of being a minority himself, under the spotlight.

      Usually though in a case like this, teams attach the word “interim” HC to an existing AC (like Vanterpol).

      Not sure that works though; usually it just gets the interim coach fired from even being an AC, and may count against him as a fail!

  4. x%sure

    People have been finding trades for Mccollum for years but GM Olshey has not bit, even when CJM was cheaper (easier to move).
    I think Lilliard’s advocacy has kept him there, as these last comments suggest. Lilliard likes to line up his ducks in a row, and has a huge voice in Portland in general.

    Lilliard can figure:
    His PPG benefits from keeping a good sidekick present to divert perimeter defenses. Also DL & CJM came up about the same time and a title would be perfect instead of jiggered. That doing so may hurt the team’s scoring balance is just a theory. Bigs should rebound, play help D.

    • x%sure

      My take is that by now, CJM may as well stay and try to see the dream through.

Leave a Reply