The Pelicans, who rank 28th in halfcourt scoring efficiency this season, addressed one of their biggest weaknesses when they agreed to acquire CJ McCollum from Portland, says Christian Clark of NOLA.com. McCollum’s new backcourt partner Devonte’ Graham is excited about the move.
“He’s got everything in his bag,” Graham said of McCollum, per Clark. “Obviously, he’s a hell of a player. He’s going to bring extremely good offense and take a lot of pressure off B (Brandon Ingram) in those 1-on-1 situations.”
As Clark notes, the deal hasn’t yet been officially announced, so it’s possible it will be expanded to include a third team before it’s formally finalized. However, if that happens, it seems more likely to affect the Blazers than the Pelicans, since Portland needs to trade or waive a player to complete the move.
Here’s more on the Pelicans:
- Jaxson Hayes‘ recent success in a power forward role boosted his value among Pelicans staffers, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who suggests that’s one reason New Orleans put Nickeil Alexander-Walker and not Hayes into the deal for McCollum.
- Pelicans wing Garrett Temple exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will be available on Tuesday night vs. Houston, according to the team (Twitter link). Didi Louzada, who is headed from New Orleans to Portland in the McCollum trade, also cleared the protocols this week. There are now just two NBA players still in the protocols, including Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez.
- Zach Harper of The Athletic likes the McCollum trade more for the Pelicans than the Trail Blazers, giving New Orleans a grade of A-minus for the deal. However, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton isn’t as bullish on the trade from the Pelicans’ perspective, writing that the move reflects “tremendous internal pressure” to win now. Pelton gave the Pels a grade of C-minus.