The Portland Trail Blazers sent CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans ahead of this year’s NBA Trade Deadline.
Although the move wasn’t entirely unexpected, it was still startling to see McCollum and Damian Lillard go their separate ways. The pair had been together since 2013 and had made the playoffs in each of their seasons together.
While their partnership had grown less effective as of late, the bond that the two shared appeared to be as strong as ever.
This week, Lillard offered his honest reaction to McCollum getting dealt.
“You get to a point where maybe something has run it’s course,” Lillard said on The Draymond Green Show.
“You gotta re-route yourself and try to figure out what’s the best thing, what’s the best angle to take at this point. That s*** was tough to deal with, bruh, I ain’t gonna lie. You know when you know something could be coming and you know that it’s a possibility, but when it happens it’s different, like damn! And I’ve kinda been stuck in that space the whole time.
“Like I’ve been watching every game in New Orleans like damn, he really ain’t coming back. It’s over. That’s kind of where I’ve been at. I still kinda haven’t even really moved past it because I ain’t have to play. The end of an era, bruh.”
It will be interesting to see where things go from here for Lillard and the Blazers. If they are able to do something in the offseason, retool in some way, obviously there will be hope that their partnership can continue.
Should that not occur, though – then it wouldn’t be particularly shocking to see rumors of Lillard’s departure heat up again. He has already made it clear privately that there is one team he’d love to land with should his time in Portland come to an end.
Now that looks like a fun vacation. https://t.co/dm9LOKYOvc
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 26, 2022
Beyond that, there are five teams circling the waters – hoping to get their shot at making a pitch to acquire Lillard.
One way or another, the Blazers’ future will be decided soon. Either they’ll win with Lillard and keep him or they’ll lose and be forced to trade him. Both scenarios would have massive ramifications for the franchise for many years to come.