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NBA Trade Rumors: Portland Trail Blazers looking to pursue high end talent following CJ McCollum trade, plan to build around Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers to reshape roster around Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers to reshape roster around Damian Lillard
Adit Pujari

According to the latest NBA Trade Rumors, the Portland Trail Blazers have some ambitious plans for Damian Lillard. In an eyebrow-raising move, the Blazers have reportedly sent CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans. In return, they will acquire Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky and a future draft compensation.

However, according to the latest reports, the Trail Blazers are considering a major haul around their currently injured star point guard. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported via his Twitter account that Portland is planning to reshape its roster around Damian Lillard.

Wojnarowski wrote: Portland's plan is to fully reshape roster around Damian Lillard now. Portland created a $21M trade exception today, potentially $60M in salary cap space this summer, multiple draft picks and assets via Pels and Clippers trades. Plan is to pursue high-end talent now, not retreat.
Portland's plan is to fully reshape roster around Damian Lillard now. Portland created a $21M trade exception today, potentially $60M in salary cap space this summer, multiple draft picks and assets via Pels and Clippers trades. Plan is to pursue high-end talent now, not retreat.

The new reports are in lieu of several major trades the Portland Trail Blazers have committed to in the last 24 hours. Interim general manager Joe Cronin has pushed the team into what can easily be called survival mode. Cronin took on the role for a troubled franchise after former GM Neil Olshey was fired by the team in December.

Portland Trail Blazers plan to rebuild around Damian Lillard

Portland interim general manager Joe Cronin has taken some risky steps. By sending CJ McCollum, one of the best 3-point shooters in the entire league, to New Orleans, Cronin created a shooting vacuum for his team. There aren't many players who can fill the gap left by McCollum. The trade also included Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell.

In return, the Blazers got Josh Hart, Nickell Alexander-Walker and Tomas Satoransky. Their combined output from beyond the 3-point line this season is 3.1 per game, the same as McCollum's. Moreover, by sending Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the LA Clippers, the Portland Trail Blazers have given away a talented guard and big man in one swoop.

In return, the Clippers traded Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, Eric Bledsoe and a 2025 second-round draft pick to Portland. The move that the Trail Blazers claim will help them create a stronger team around is a risky gamble. The biggest gamble is expecting Damian to stay with the team this season.

According to Marc Stein, a renowned NBA correspondent, other teams will now actively chase Lillard after this move. With McCollum traded, Stein predicted that teams will vehemently chase Dame.

Stein wrote: This much is clear in Portland: Teams will be emboldened to pursue Damian Lillard in the offseason once the Blazers complete their expected trade of CJ McCollum to New Orleans. Can't speak to Lillard's intentions but he'll be chased even harder now.
This much is clear in Portland: Teams will be emboldened to pursue Damian Lillard in the offseason once the Blazers complete their expected trade of CJ McCollum to New Orleans. Can't speak to Lillard's intentions but he'll be chased even harder now.More: marcstein.substack.com

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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