Damian Lillard has made it abundantly clear that he is not happy with how the Portland Trail Blazers comported themselves in free agency this year.
The 31-year-old wanted his team to go out and get him some help; they failed to do so.
The biggest and most appetizing trade asset at Portland’s disposal right now is the team’s second-best player, C.J. McCollum.
Because of that, whenever talk turns to “improving” the Blazers and “adding talent,” particularly when Lillard is the one driving that conversation forward, it’s difficult to view it as anything other than an implicit push that McCollum get dealt.
On Monday McCollum appeared on ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby show to cover a myriad of topics. On there, he was pressed regarding his future in Portland amid trade rumors. At that point he offered something of a cryptic response.
“I think the same way I always do, man,” McCollum said. “I control what I can control – continue to work on my game, continue to take advantage of my summers, try to improve… And show up and do your job.
“It’s going to be what it’s going to be at the end of the day. I’m happy in my situation. I’ve been able to continue to figure out ways to improve and help us make the playoffs eight straight years, six straight years as a starter and I look forward to the challenge of trying to get back to the playoffs this upcoming season.”
Aside from reaching a five-year, $90 million agreement with Norman Powell, the Blazers have done a whole lot of nothing over the past few months. As a result, it’s hard to envision a scenario where this group achieves anything more this year than they have in recent seasons.
Over the offseason, Lillard offered something of an ultimatum to the Blazers. To date, they haven’t really done anything about it. If they choose to change course, trading McCollum feels like the first domino that will drop.
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
Fortunately, it seems like McCollum is taking that understanding in stride.
Will the 29-year-old definitely be moved at some point this year? It’s impossible to say for certain. Are the odds of it happening higher than ever before, though? Yes.