CJ McCollum

Should the Blazers trade McCollum or commit to a full rebuild?

Home » NBA » Portland Trail Blazers » Portland Trail Blazers rebuild: What should the Blazers do?

A Portland Trail Blazers rebuild seems imminent right now. Multiple rumors claim that Damian Lillard could force his way out of the team. And even though he’s denied those claims over and over, the truth is that it all can change in the blink of an eye.

Lillard isn’t getting any younger and he wants to win an NBA championship. He’s also expected to demand a massive pay rise in the summer, and the Blazers could be hesitant to meet his salary demands once they hire a new General Manager.

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard aren’t a good fit together. Jusuf Nurkic, albeit a solid rim protector, isn’t the interior presence they need. Robert Covington can only do so much on the defensive end with the teammates he has, and Norman Powell won’t be able to live up to that big contract. 

Portland Trail Blazers rebuild

The Portland Trail Blazers have been stuck in a mediocrity spiral over the past couple of years. They’re good enough to make the playoffs but don’t have what it takes to become an actual contender. And the front office has failed to address their issues.

Now, their PR mess with Chauncey Billups, firing Neil Olshey, and the uncertainty about whether the Allens will sell the team or not have only made things more complicated. Add an upset Damian Lillard wanting to win right now and you have a recipe for disaster.


So, is there a way to turn this franchise around right now? What does the future hold for Rip City? Should they keep Lillard and try and surround him with other stars? Should they just give up on this core and start from scratch? Is a Portland Trail Blazers rebuild the only way to make them competitive? Let’s break this down.

Are the Blazers good enough this year?

Unfortunately, no. The Blazers currently sit at an 11-15 record and the 11th spot in the Western Conference. Lillard’s supporting cast has left a lot to be desired again, Chauncey Billups has failed to make adjustments, and the franchise overall is heading nowhere. They don’t even have a GM.

The Blazers have the fifth-worst net rating in the league at -2.9. They also have the fifth-worst defense and allow 111.0 points per game. That’s alarming considering they’re not even pushing up the pace, as they rank 17th in the league in possessions per game at 98.1.

To make things even worse, their rivals shoot a league-best .382 from beyond the arc. They can’t get stops and their roster overall seems poorly built. They’re not likely to make the playoffs or even the play-in tournament unless Lillard goes nuclear.

Read more: 10 best playmakers in the NBA this season


Should the Blazers trade CJ?

CJ McCollum trade rumors have flooded the internet for the past three or four years. While he and Lillard have a strong rapport, it’s obvious that he’s not the best fit next to him on the court. Also, McCollum never broke out as the superstar some expected him to become, and he is what it is at this point.

If the Blazers don’t want to give up and still wish to keep Lillard on board, then trading away McCollum could be their only choice. He won’t be pleased to part ways with his friend but he’s their only valuable and tradeable asset at this point.

McCollum’s trade value isn’t as high as it used to be. Nonetheless, he’s still a 20+ points-per-game scorer that could provide a huge offensive boost for guard-needy teams. And if Lillard forces his way out, then holding on to him makes even less sense. They should move him ASAP.

What players should the Blazers trade for?

The truth is that the Blazers don’t have many options right now. Nassir Little, Anfernee Simons, and CJ McCollum may not be enough to land a star, and they don’t have any valuable first-round picks, either. At least not for the upcoming Draft.

An ideal scenario would be trading for Ben Simmons. However, Daryl Morey isn’t going to even entertain the thought of making a trade with them unless it involves Damian Lillard, so we’re back to square zero. And there aren’t many available players that could actually help Lillard win now.

Bradley Beal has recently stated that he’s not ready to commit to the Washington Wizards, so he could be an option. But what incentive can the Blazers offer Washington? Also, why would any other team in the NBA help them keep Lillard when he’s on the verge of demanding a trade?

Do the Trail Blazers commit to a full rebuild?

A Portland Trail Blazers rebuild seems like the likeliest and wisest scenario right now. The hard truth is that Damian Lillard has already outgrown the team, and they’re not going to get any valuable assets in return unless they move on from him.

Lillard’s injury update shows no structural damage and he should be back on the court sooner rather than later. He hasn’t been as good this season but he’s still one of the best scorers and best leaders in the league. And he’s going to ask for a lot of money to stay in Portland.

Truth be told, the Blazers need to swallow this hard pill and move on from their superstar. They need multiple first-round picks to rebuild and Lillard is the only way to get that. Otherwise, they’re looking at another decade of first-round exits and mid-round draft picks.

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