Portland’s McCollum Trade Preps Summer Spending

    • On Tuesday, the Trail Blazers traded CJ McCollum to the Pelicans.
    • In the past week, they've created $60 million in cap space for the off-season.

Over the last week, the Trail Blazers have traded key players including Norman Powell and Robert Covington — a clear signal that they’re trying to create financial flexibility for the offseason.

And on Tuesday, they traded CJ McCollum, Tony Snell, and Larry Nance Jr. to the Pelicans for Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, a 2022 protected first-round pick, and two second-round picks.

This created roughly $60 million in cap space this summer and $21 million in trade exceptions — and put Portland approximately $16 million under the luxury tax.

But even with the sizable return, losing their second star breaks up the one of the NBA’s premier backcourt duos, one that took Portland to eight straight postseasons and a Western Conference Finals.

  • Lillard and McCollum averaged 20 PPG while playing 60% of the team’s games in six seasons, the second-most for any duo in history.
  • McCollum is one of eight players to average 20+ PPG in each of the last seven seasons.
  • His 1,212 3PM are the 7th-most since he became a starter in 2015-16.

In September, Damian Lillard said he wanted the roster to improve — which is debatable.

Lillard is currently in the second year of his four-year, $176.3 million contract. In December, ESPN reported that Dame wanted to re-up and sign a two-year, $107 million extension that would make him the highest-paid player annually.

If Dame — who hasn’t played since Dec. 31 — is willing to stay loyal to the 11-seed Blazers, they’ll have plenty of room to add key pieces in the offseason. But will his patience run out?