All year, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has been subject to trade rumors, but now he is being linked to the New York Knicks.
The Knicks have emerged as “a legitimate trade suitor” for the guard ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, according to NBA Insider Mark Stein.
Stein added that the New Orleans Pelicans were the team most often linked with McCollum until the Knicks entered the picture.
SNY’s Ian Begley also reported on New York’s pursuit of the 30-year-old guard and added that “teams expect the Blazers to listen to offers on McCollum in the wake of their decision to move Norman Powell to the Los Angeles Clippers for future flexibility.”
McCollum is averaging 20.5 points and shooting 38.4 from beyond the arc through 36 appearances this season.
He missed 18 games across December and January because of a collapsed lung.
The 6’3″ sharpshooter hasn’t missed a beat since returning on Jan. 17, putting up 20.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game.
The Blazers are sitting 11th in the Western Conference at 21-33, and Damian Lillard is recovering from abdominal surgery.
At this point, it seems like the Lillard/McCollum partnership isn’t going to get the Blazers over the top.
Shedding the $69.1 million owed to McCollum over the next two seasons might allow the franchise to have some financial flexibility to make necessary additions to the roster.
For the Knicks, they need to do something amid a disappointing season.
At 24-29, New York isn’t even on pace to qualify for the play-in tournament.
Tom Thibodeau’s squad is averaging the ninth-most three-pointers (13.0) and ranks 12th in three-point percentage (35.5).
The Knicks aren’t a bad shooting team, but CJ McCollum would give them another option on the perimeter alongside Evan Fournier and RJ Barrett.
Making the money work might be tricky, though, considering New York only has three players (Fournier, Julius Randle, and Derrick Rose) earning more than $10 million.
The New York Post‘s Marc Berman didn’t paint a flattering portrait of Randle’s trade value, but including him in a deal for McCollum wouldn’t make much sense for the Knicks.
If Randle is off the table, any trade package would likely include Fournier plus a young player, such as Obi Toppin, and salary filler.
Maybe New York would cut bait on Cam Reddish, whom Berman reported Thibodeau didn’t want before his trade from the Atlanta Hawks.