New Orleans Pelicans Trade for CJ McCollum

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Full Trade Details:

New Orleans Pelicans get: CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., Tony Snell

Portland Trail Blazers get: Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, 2022 protected first-round pick, two second-round picks

New Orleans Pelicans Land CJ McCollum

What this means for the New Orleans Pelicans

After starting the season 1-12, the New Orleans Pelicans have quietly been playing pretty well. They sit at 21-32 now and are the 10th seed in the West. This trade means that the Pelicans are serious about making the play-in and potentially giving a team a run for their money in the playoffs. Adding proven veterans like McCollum, Nance, and Snell gives them a very solid rotation. 

The biggest piece in the trade is McCollum and for good reason. He is one of the most consistent scorers in the league, as he has averaged between 20-23 PPG since 2015. McCollum will likely join the starting lineup with Devonte Graham, Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas, and Zion Williamson (when healthy). Ingram has shown that he can carry the offensive burden, but he is now getting some help. New Orleans should now have one of the best offenses in the league. Getting defensive stops might be an issue, but this team should be able to score with anyone in the league. 

Nance and Snell are not just throw-ins either. These two are NBA-level rotation players who should help buoy this Pelicans bench. The recent emergence of Jose Alvarado, Herbert Jones, and Jaxson Hayes gives Willie Green some rotation pieces to play around with. This trade gives the Pelicans a solid roster of veterans and young pieces with potential.

Another factor of this trade is Williamson. He is yet to suit up this season but has already shown that he can be one of the best players in the league. There have already been rumors that he is unhappy in New Orleans and wants to go somewhere else. This trade shows that the front office is serious about building around him and thinks they can compete with this roster. It is a mystery when he will return but this team should make the play-in and maybe even upset a few teams along the way. 

What this means for the Portland Trail Blazers

This trade seems to signal a rebuild for Portland. They were never able to really build a championship-contending roster around McCollum and Damian Lillard, who could be on his way out soon. Portland has now traded three of their starters from last year’s playoff team, as Norman Powell and Robert Covington were sent to the Clippers last week. 

Hart and Alexander-Walker are the main players in this trade for Portland. Hart is averaging a career-high 13.4 PPG to go along with 7.8 RPG and 4.1 APG. He is a winning player but doesn’t seem to fit a rebuilding team. Alexander-Walker is an intriguing young player and is averaging 12.8 PPG in only his third season. Alexander-Walker and Anfernee Simons will now soak up most of the backcourt minutes with Lillard likely on the shelf for the rest of the season. 

Portland is also receiving a protected 2022 first-round pick from New Orleans. If the pick falls between 5-14 then Portland will get the pick, but if it is 1-4 then the Pelicans will keep it. New Orleans is currently in the 5-14 range and will likely stay there unless they make the playoffs. Portland getting some picks back is crucial because they sent some out when they acquired Powell, Covington, and Nance. 

After breaking up the Lillard-McCollum pairing, Portland should look to move some of their other role players if the right deal comes along. Jusuf Nurkic, Cody Zeller, and Ben McLemore are guys that seem to be available for teams looking to bolster their rotation. Portland is probably not done making moves as this trade seems to signal a full rebuild for them.

 

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