The Blazers blow-up continues in enormous fashion.
According to multiple reports, Portland will send veteran guard CJ McCollum, big man Larry Nance, and forward Tony Snell to New Orleans. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported the deal will send Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, (old friend) Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, a future first-round pick, and two future second-round picks back to the Trail Blazers.
Full trade, per sources:
Blazers: Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Walker-Alexander, Didi Louzada, 2022 protected first-round pick, two second-round picks.
Pelicans: CJ McCollum, Larry Nance, Tony Snell.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2022
New Orleans is an organization in no man’s land as they sit with a 21-32 record with the health status of No. 1-overall pick Zion Williamson completely up in the air. They have slowly gained enough steam to push themselves into the play-in tournament picture, currently sitting 10th. The goal here is seemingly to speed up this trajectory and lock in a playoff appearance this season with three experienced players coming into the fold.
McCollum will undoubtedly bring a level of perimeter scoring and professionalism that this organization needs, but whether or not they are ready for it is still a fair question. To be sure, though, this is at least consistent with the efforts we saw the organization try to make this offseason. The Pelicans were said to be in the Kyle Lowry sweepstakes, so seeking a veteran backcourt player to pair with their young talent only a handful of months later isn’t a massive surprise.
As for the Trail Blazers, much unlike when they traded Norman Powell and Robert Covington, this feels like at least a decent return package for McCollum. Alexander-Walker is still a young first-round pick from the 2019 draft with intriguing upside. Hart may not possess the same untapped potential, but he is a winning player who does a lot of the dirty work on both ends of the floor. The biggest question is whether or not they got enough draft compensation, especially for including a player like Nance (who felt like he could be a decent get for the size-hungry Chicago Bulls).
What the Blazers did get enough of is salary cap relief. The team offloaded roughly $80 million in future expenses in this one deal, giving them plenty of flexibility to try to recreate a roster around superstar Damian Lillard (or jumpstart a full-blown rebuild). Meanwhile, while things were already trending in this direction, the loss of an efficient 20-points per game scorer in McCollum only makes it that much more unlikely the Bulls get Portland’s first-rounder this season.
So I guess that’s one way to get the trade deadline week started, right? We still have two days to go before the final buzzer sounds, so it will be very interesting to see if these two teams are done reshaping their organizations. Someone call the Bulls!