CJ McCollum is now the biggest name that people around the NBA expect to be dealt before this Thursday’s trade deadline, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who confirms that the Pelicans, Knicks, and Hawks remain in the mix for the Trail Blazers guard. Fischer also reported that the Pacers are among the teams believed to have interest in McCollum.
While a handful of new clubs have been identified this week as potential suitors for McCollum, the Pelicans may still be the frontrunners. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), New Orleans and Portland are engaged in “serious” discussions about McCollum, with those talks ongoing today.
Sources tell Bleacher Report that the Blazers, after sending Norman Powell to the Clippers, remain focused on creating more financial flexibility going forward and have expressed little interest in taking back future salary in a potential McCollum deal.
As Fischer explains, Portland wants to sign Anfernee Simons to a long-term deal this offseason and appears increasingly unlikely to trade Jusuf Nurkic, since he and the team have mutual interest in working out a new contract this offseason. If they keep McCollum and sign Simons and Nurkic to lucrative new deals, the Blazers would be at risk of going back into luxury tax territory next season.
A Pelicans offer for McCollum seems likely to include some combination of Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Jaxson Hayes, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, according to Fischer, who notes that New Orleans also still has a surplus of first-round picks available to include as sweeteners, if necessary.
Fischer suggests that a Hawks proposal for McCollum may include Danilo Gallinari and Delon Wright‘s expiring contract. He’s skeptical that the Knicks would be able to make an appealing offer, pointing to Evan Fournier‘s and Julius Randle‘s long-term contracts as pieces Portland wouldn’t want to take back. Theoretically, New York could put together a package of players on shorter-term contracts, such as Alec Burks, Kemba Walker, and Nerlens Noel, but it’s unclear exactly which players the club would be willing to put on the table.
Marc Berman of The New York Post, confirming the Knicks have talked to Portland about McCollum, says New York also had interest in Powell before he was sent to Los Angeles.