CJ McCollum Viewed As A 'Negative Trade Asset', Rivals Want Damian Lillard

Ernesto Cova

The Portland Trail Blazers are going through a bit of a rough stretch lately.

Not only have they struggled to keep up with the rest of the Western Conference when they've been at full strength, but the injuries of their stars have put them in an even tougher situation.

That's why some speculate that the time to break up their backcourt and trade away CJ McCollum has finally come. Notably, that will be way easier said than done at this point in the season.

Sixers Aren't Interested In CJ McCollum

Recently, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed that the Blazers reached out to the Philadelphia 76ers in an attempt to trade for Ben Simmons.

Nonetheless, Daryl Morey showed little-to-no interest in any package involving any player not named Damian Lillard:

"The Sixers have long targeted Lillard, who reaffirmed his desire to stay in Portland around the start of the team’s training camp. After the recent firing of president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, Cronin has publicly and privately said the franchise plans to keep building around Lillard. The Blazers have been open to discussing a deal for Simmons centered on guard CJ McCollum, but that conversation never gathered traction, sources said," Woj reported.

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McCollum Is Seen As A 'Negative Trade Asset'

Apparently, that's a league-wide tendency, as McCollum's trade value seems to be at an all-time low and his contract is viewed as a negative trade asset, per Eric Pinus of Bleacher Report

"McCollum is already 30 and is under contract for $100 million through 2023-24, which may also deter Philadelphia," wrote Pinus. "Some executives around the league view McCollum as a negative trade asset, one the Blazers would need to send with compensation to get him off the team’s books."

CJ McCollum Reacts To Trade Rumors

The talented combo guard is unbothered by that talk, though. In a recent interview with the New York Times, he talked about how he's focused on controlling what he can control:

"I’ve always focused on controlling the controllable," McCollum said. "I can’t control any of the noise that comes with playing this game. I can say that as a basketball player you will be involved at some point in rumors regardless of the magnitude because you play a sport. The media kind of dictates the storyline. Success and failure also plays a role."

"But in terms of where I’m at mentally and physically, I’m recovering from an injury and enjoying being a husband, potential father, a son, teammate and a brother. I think that’s where my focus is at and that’s where my focus will remain," McCollum added.

So, What Will The Blazers Do?

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In reality, there's only so much they can do, and none of the moves they could make are likely to help them turn things around soon.

While Nassir Little, Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic, and Robert Covington could gauge some interest in the trade value, they don't have many options to land an All-Star caliber player right away.

This feels like another lost season and they're not likely to make any big moves until they hire a new GM in the offseason. For now, no one, not even Lillard seems like a lock to be on the roster next season.

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