CJ McCollum in favor of playing out the rest of the season at a single site

CJ McCollum in favor of playing out the rest of the season at a single site

With the NBA season suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league and the NBAPA are hard at work to ensure the safety of the players while exploring avenues to continue the season, rather than canceling it.

One proposed solution with traction is to play out the entirety of the postseason at one location closed off to fans, but aired on television. It would allow the NBA to crown a champion and mitigate losses compared to canceling the season which could mean over a billion dollars in lost revenue. 

In an Instagram Live with Season of Sports, Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum said that he would be in favor of playing the rest of the season, if safe to do so.

"If it's safe and they're able to pull it off, I wouldn't mind playing in one city," said McCollum. "It'd kind of give you those NCAA Tournament vibes a little bit."

If the Blazers qualified for the postseason, they would be matched with the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. McCollum's March Madness magic would certainly come in handy to pull off the upset, like he did when he led #15 Lehigh to upset #2 Duke. 

As for what the timeline looks like to return to the court, McCollum doesn't have an answer.

I have no idea. I'm gonna schedule a zoom call tomorrow with the guys... with what I've been hearing from an NBAPA standpoint. But, basically we're on the outs just like everybody else. It's just continuing the conversation on what if's and hopefully we can get back, but obviously the government has to figure out the situation and get a control on the virus and testing and go through all those things. So, I feel like we're a little ways off before we can return.

When the league does return, McCollum is ready to see the Trail Blazers at near full health with a return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, two projected starters, ready to return to the court.

"I'm looking forward to seeing everybody healthy. Obviously the big fella (Nurkic) will be ready whenever we decide to return... Rodney Hood's almost ready."

Despite the up-and-down, injury-riddled season, McCollum has faith the Blazers can make some noise in the postseason. He and Damian Lillard have done it before. 

Dame and I have grown together. We've learned together. We've been through the fire. We've been in big games. We've lost big games. We've won big games. We've had to go through a lot of different growth factors as basketball players and as people, and I wouldn't want to play with anybody else... Hopefully when we get back to playing again we can try to make a run and try to bring Portland a championship. 

In a press conference two weeks ago, McCollum had concerns about the logistical issues that come with playing in one site, including the rumored Las Vegas destination.

“I think if you did it in Las Vegas you’d have to shut down the strip," said McCollum. "I don’t know where you could find an area that’s completely isolated from outsiders. And that’s the problem that I think MLB and most sports are facing.”

He also stated he would be OK with a delayed start to next season if it meant playing out the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season. 

CJ McCollum gives out phone number on Twitter

CJ McCollum gives out phone number on Twitter

It's been nearly a month since the NBA suspended its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and NBA players are getting bored.

Some have been passing the time by streaming on Twitch or Instagram Live or creating other content such as TikTok's.

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has decided to fill his time in a different way. While he's responded to many of his followers before on Twitter, the most famous being Jennifer, McCollum has now taken his relationship with his fans to the next step.

He gave out his phone number, kind of. 

"What up? I just want everyone to know that I have joined the Community app. I'm going to be leaving my number for everyone and I'm looking forward to it. So text me. Peace!" said the guard in his video giving out the number: 503-743-0354. 

The Community app, according to the New York Times, is "a tech company in Los Angeles that has raised $35 million to help corporations, stars and other high-profile clients manage direct messaging with a mass audience." So this isn't McCollum's personal cell phone number, but it's as close as Rip City will get. 

McCollum appears to be following in the footsteps of former teammate Meyers Leonard and his wife Elle who gave out their phone numbers on Instagram a few weeks ago. 

While the Blazers guard has been staying in shape, with the pandemic happening McCollum hasn't been in his normal routine, telling reporters on Wednesday that he'd need about a week to get back into game shape and he hasn't shot a basketball in at least two weeks. 

With that new free time, he adopted a dog named Fiona, who made her press conference debut on Wednesday as well.

[RELATED]: CJ McCollum is fostering a puppy during NBA hiatus and what's not to love

So now's your chance to ask CJ anything you want to! Hurry! 

CJ McCollum stands by estimate of players living paycheck to paycheck

CJ McCollum stands by estimate of players living paycheck to paycheck

First and foremost, CJ McCollum is just like you: He wants the NBA to resume more than anything.

“Obviously, you want to play," McCollum said during a Trail Blazers video conference Wednesday afternoon. "I want to get back out there and play in front of fans preferably, but I think we are in a position where we can't execute that right now, honestly. So, we have to wait and see how things go.”

The seven-year veteran has been vocal on social media about how guys around the league need to be smart with their money and look to other avenues outside of basketball to help their money grow.

In a recent interview on ‘The Boardroom,’ McCollum threw out an estimate of 150 of the total 450 NBA players live paycheck to paycheck

“I think a lot of guys are going to be hurting especially people on minimums or people that didn’t just budget correctly and didn’t expect this to happen. Maybe they loaned money or paid money to family. Maybe they’re taking care of multiple people and now there’s a work stoppage and for a lot of people in America,” McCollum said on 'The Boardroom.'

Wednesday, McCollum clarified:

A lot of people took that out of context. But, what I was basically saying is that I think there’s a lot of players based on what I’ve seen, what I’ve experienced, the research I’ve done -- that either mismanaged money or aren’t in the position to make the right decisions financially because they’re the first generation of wealth. It’s hard to manage money when you’ve never had it before and everyone around you has never had it before. And, it’s not an excuse, it’s not like me saying -- ‘feel sorry for us, we make millions of dollars.’ It’s not saying, I’m struggling. It’s saying that a lot of players especially years two through four are still trying to figure themselves out. They’ve either hired a financial advisor or are in the process of hiring someone. -- Trail Blazers veteran CJ McCollum      

As for the 150 players living paycheck to paycheck, McCollum still stands by that number.

“I would say it was just an estimate, but I think it was an accurate estimate, honestly. I think players and not just players in the basketball realm, but athletes and people all across the world have to really take advantage of resources outside of what they’re doing with their day-to-day life… Really budget correctly.”

Yes, there are people out there who believe NBA players throw their money around at frivolous, unnecessary and materialistic crap.

But, as McCollum explained, there are players who have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle AND there are some who are trying to do what they think is best and that's help out family and friends.

I think a work stoppage, it affects everybody whether you have money or not. It affects people around you or it affects you directly, and I think as a professional athlete a lot of times during these times you’re helping people literally. And, I’m not saying it’s the wrong thing or right thing to do, but I’m saying that a lot of players [are helping out financially], especially now, they said 6 million people filed for unemployment last week. -- CJ McCollum 

The 28-year old continued, “I have family members that are struggling and are in a position where they need assistance and you have to do what you can when you can, but I think the biggest thing that I’ve heard from players is they’re worried about free agency. They’re worried about, obviously, when checks are gonna completely be stopped because they have to budget accordingly."

McCollum looked as though he was speaking from the heart when talking about how the entire world is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Everyone is going through it right now -- The pay may stop, but the bills don’t. The bills are continuing to come in and depending on what type of lifestyle you have, as I said on Twitter/Instagram the other day, some people have child support, some people have a certain lifestyle that they are accustomed to living, and it’s definitely gonna have to change.”

Since the end of March, there have been reports that the NBA is looking at different scenarios of cutting players’ wages.

This week, the league reportedly proposed that the players take a 50 percent paycheck reduction, while the Players Association countered that with a 25 percent reduction of paychecks starting the middle of next month.

A typical NBA contract has payments on the first and 15th of every month during the season, but different pay schedules can be worked out within individual contracts.

When McCollum was asked what would be fair for a player to be paid, he pointed out that a good majority of the season had already been played.

“I think fair is being paid for your services. So, that’s eighty percent or 90 percent whatever the case may be. I think that’s fair. We can figure out the rest of the numbers, but I think everyone can agree… If you worked and done something, you want to be paid for that work,” McCollum said.

As for not saving enough money for a rainy day (as my grandma would say), McCollum mentioned how some players may have made poor investments or some players just flat out don’t know how “to make their money grow.”

Here was his advice:  

“I just cautiously advise people to really save. To really plan accordingly, because at some point if we don’t continue to play, pay is definitely going to change or come to a halt,” McCollum said.

CJ McCollum reveals how long it'd take to be ready to play in games again

CJ McCollum reveals how long it'd take to be ready to play in games again

It's been exactly 20 days since the NBA shutdown teams' training facilities and it's been nearly a month since the league was suspended. 

The only Trail Blazers currently allowed to enter the practice facility are those still receiving treatment during their rehab-- Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Rodney Hood. 

As players do their at home workouts and continue to try their best to stay in shape, it’s not the same as being able to go to team’s training facilities and get in their typical workouts.

During a Trail Blazers video conference Wednesday, shooting guard CJ McCollum described what he thinks the process would look like if in fact they are cleared to resume play this summer.

I think the first thing we would have to do is get in shape. Game shape -- obviously, we are all trying to workout. We’re trying to do what we can at home. Some people are going on runs, maybe riding bikes. I have a stationary bike… But, it’s not the same as physically getting up and down and playing on the basketball court so I think you have to take some time to kind of go through that process, that period of one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three, five-on-five -- getting up and down full court, that’ll be very helpful. -- CJ McCollum

From playing one-on-one to three-on-three, McCollum believes that teams would then be able to transition that to getting back and competing in full court scrimmages.

But that’s the thing -- it will be a process.

It’s not as if NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is going to clear players to return to their practice facilities and then bam!! -- We’ve got NBA games that week or even that following week or two.

There are players out there who have discussed how fortunate they are to have a nice home gym, like Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard, and how they are still able to get in somewhat normal workouts. But, that’s not the case for many of the players, especially the younger ones.

“I think it would take us some time to say the least, especially depending on when we would end up starting,” McCollum said.  “This is like day 28, so that’s 28 days for most guys that haven’t shot a basketball, most guys haven’t been on a court in general unless you have one or are going outside, but it’s still not the same as playing an actual game or an actual practice.”

The 28-year-old also mentioned that it is his rhythm that he is more concerned about at this point.

McCollum and his teammates are in constant communication with Trail Blazers Sports Performance Specialist Todd Forcier.

“I told Todd the other day, I’ll stay close. I’m like a week away” of being in game shape.

Forcier has been assembling stationary bikes for a few of the players including Nassir Little and Zach Collins, who have limited workout access in their current living situations.

The Trail Blazers are doing their best to stay connected and stay in shape with Zoom video conferencing.  

A few of the players have been doing Zoom yoga classes that McCollum said he was missing Wednesday's class because of the Zoom press conference, but he’ll catch up on the workout later.

The Trail Blazers starting shooting guard reiterated that he knows he needs to stay within striking distance of being able to play an NBA game. That is why he is staying “at least one week away” from being able to get up and down the court effectively.

If we were to come back we wouldn’t be able to play a game for at least a few weeks, is my guess -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum

McCollum does not have a basketball court at his home, but this quarantine has made him rethink that.

“It’s hard to train in a way that’s effective when you don’t have all the resources, and I’m not complaining about it, like this is the situation that I’m in, I’m cool with it, but to actually be able to shoot would be great. I thought about buying a court.”

Former Blazers big man Meyers Leonard is helping out his former teammate, though. The Leonards still own their house in West Linn and have already reached out to McCollum about him using their court.

“I’m actually thinking about going to Meyers’ house. Meyers has a court that they said I could use their little basketball court. So I’d be able to go get some shots up… Even if you go buy a court or whatever the case may be, it’s not the same as like the normal workouts you’ll go through, the normal stuff that I’ll be doing to kind of prepare for the season and for games,” McCollum said.  

“I haven’t shot a basketball in at least two weeks,” McCollum added.

Being able to get shots up for McCollum and the rest of the Blazers who don't have a basketball court at home would probably be more of a positive thing mentally than physically at this point in the hiatus. 

CJ McCollum on gathering teams in Vegas to play: 'You'd have to shut down the strip'

CJ McCollum on gathering teams in Vegas to play: 'You'd have to shut down the strip'

Major League Baseball is working on a plan to bring all its teams to the Phoenix area to begin a season in late May or June and the NBA is rumored to be thinking about doing something similar, perhaps in Las Vegas.

But would that work? Would it be safe?

CJ McCollum was asked about it Wednesday during an online news conference coordinated by the Trail Blazers. And he seemed to have some doubts about just how such a plan could be executed.

“I’m sure if there is a way to do it, they’ll figure it out,” he said. “I’m not sure if there is a way. But what I’m hearing is MLB is looking at certain cities, certain locations. Probably target cities that don’t have a stay-at-home ordinance. There’s probably seven to ten places left in the United States that don’t have a stay-at-home ordinance.”

But it would probably be a very large-scale operation for the city playing host to such an event.

“I think if you did it in Las Vegas you’d have to shut down the strip,” McCollum said. “I don’t know where you could find an area that’s completely isolated from outsiders. And that’s the problem that I think MLB and most sports are facing.”

And putting all those players in one spot for an extended period of time and expecting them to be alone?

“If you quarantine the players individually, you have to make sure they have interactions with no one, right?” he said.  “In a sense, family -- you don’t know where they would be traveling from.

“You’re basically isolating them because they could be asymptomatic carriers. Which could kind of disturb things and kind of throw off the balance of what you’re trying to accomplish.”

At this point, such a plan seems to require so much planning, followed by impeccable execution, it’s hard to imagine that it's workable.

“I don’t know how you do it, personally,” McCollum said. “I think we have people smart enough to figure things out if there is a way.

“I think one of these major sports organizations is going to figure it out.”

But what a puzzle it’s going to be.

CJ McCollum names his top three NBA players today

CJ McCollum names his top three NBA players today

Ranking the best players in the NBA has been a discussion as old as the league, but now CJ McCollum has shared his opinion. 

In an episode of The Boardroom, the Trail Blazers guard was asked who the best three players in the NBA are at this moment and told to put them in order.

He knew the top three pretty quickly but needed some time for how to rank them.

I'd go Bron....Kawhi. Giannis.

McCollum thinks that LeBron James "has solidified himself as the best player right now" and even said that he would have his vote for the MVP award.

[He] makes his team better. Like you take him off that Laker team you see what happened last year you know what I'm saying. Like put him on another team. If you change roles that's how I look at like most valuable player. 

The choice of LeBron as the game's best player isn't a controversial one, but to say he's also the MVP is. Before the abrupt suspension of the NBA season due to COVID-19, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was easily the favorite to win the award averaging 29.6 points (3rd in the NBA) and 13.7 rebounds (3rd in the NBA) on the NBA's best team while also recording a PER of 31.63 (1st in the NBA, 7th all-time). 

LeBron has been great in his own right with 25.7 points (11th in the NBA) and 10.6 assists (1st in the NBA) but the Lakers have a worse record than the Bucks and James has Anthony Davis as his team's second-best player who is arguably a top-five player in the world as well. 

With his choice for the second-best player, CJ chooses Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard who led the Toronto Raptors to an NBA Championship just last season, which included winning four straight games in the Eastern Conference Finals against Giannis, CJ's third-best player. 

McCollum took Kevin Durant out of the running because of his Achilles tear suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. 

CJ McCollum suggests 150 NBA players are living paycheck to paycheck

CJ McCollum suggests 150 NBA players are living paycheck to paycheck

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly taken its toll on Americans and people all over the world.  

It’s certainly a scary time right now as we continue to navigate through these unchartered waters, while also continuing our efforts to flatten the curve.

With so much uncertainty out there, so many are already hurting financially around the country.

But, could this really be affecting some NBA players’ finances?

With the NBA remaining in suspension to help limit the spread of COVID-19, tough decisions about the rest of the season are being discussed, which includes a significant reduction in pay for NBA players.

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum joined former NBA player Jay Williams on the digital show The Boardroom, which is aimed at what's really changing the game. 

McCollum shared his opinions on how he believes 150 NBA players of the 450 are currently living paycheck to paycheck.  

“I would say there are some guys in the league that are hurting right now because obviously a work stoppage is in place, there could be a pay stoppage. We are on pace to lose about 23.5 percent of income of this season,” McCollum told Williams.

The median salary of an NBA player as of 2017 was $2.5 million, according to Basketball Reference, while the average salary of an NBA player was $6,936,154. 

So, some people out there may ask, but how is this possible for players to be living paycheck to paycheck?

The minimum NBA salary, in 2019-20, for a player with no prior NBA experience was eligible for an $893,310 minimum salary with the minimum set at 90 percent of the salary cap.

Obviously there’s a bit of discrepancy in the lower paid players to the highest paid, but there’s more to it than that goes into relying on the next paycheck as McCollum explained.  

I think a lot of guys are going to be hurting especially people on minimums or people that didn’t just budget correctly and didn’t expect this to happen. Maybe they loaned money or paid money to family. Maybe they’re taking care of multiple people and now there’s a work stoppage and for a lot of people in America. -- CJ McCollum said on ‘The Boardroom’   

“I would say out of 450 players… 150 probably are living paycheck to paycheck,” McCollum added.   

Between players being taxed at the highest rate and not budgeting properly while trying to live up to a certain NBA lifestyle and supporting family and friends, now facing a pay cut-- there is a lot that goes into nearly a third of the NBA living paycheck to paycheck. 

McCollum has long talked about investing and having a back-up plan. 

“I have been strategically investing,” McCollum said. “Diversifying my portfolio. Learning more about other ventures and things of interest to where I am stable even though the market has been terrible. I’ve diversified enough where it doesn’t really hurt me. Other people need to be forward thinkers. Not just basketball players. Not just people in the sports world. But people in general. Life happens fast. You have to have a Plan B, a backup plan and really figure out a way to have different avenues of income and just avenues of happiness. That is what is really important, being at peace and having that happiness.”

CJ McCollum reaches out to Rip City for dinner ideas

CJ McCollum reaches out to Rip City for dinner ideas

As we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, self-isolation has become the new norm. 

No more going out to bars with friends. No movie theaters. No sports. 

It's basically, "what can I do at home?"

One thing many people have been doing is using food delivery services to "eat out."

You can't go to the restaurant, but the restaurant can come to you.

Not only are you getting your food fix, but you're helping local businesses in the process. 

On Sunday, CJ McCollum, looking to get some grub, reached out to Rip City for some help.

McCollum was looking to give back to businesses in Rip City, and Rip City was not hesitant to reach out and help. 

From mac and cheese to hot wings, the foodies around town gave McCollum plenty to chew on. 

If McCollum wasn't hungry before, he sure is now. Good thing he has a few places to pick from, thanks to Rip City. 

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum donates $170,000 to coronavirus relief

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum donates $170,000 to coronavirus relief

CJ McCollum is giving back to those have been impacted by COVID-19.

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, the Portland Trail Blazers guard has donated $170,000 to the Portland, Oregon and Canton, Ohio communities for coronavirus relief. 

The generous contribution will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs in the Portland metro area, who will receive a $70,000 donation. The funds will help the club with staff retention, virtual counseling, and other programs for children and families, including meal distribution. 

The Akron-Canton Food Bank will also receive a $100,000 contribution from the Trail Blazers star. This donation will help provide 400,000 meals to families in McCollum’s hometown of Canton, as well as the nearby communities in Stark and Tuscarawas. 

McCollum becomes the second Trail Blazer to publicly give back during this pandemic. Just two days earlier, his teammate Damian Lillard announced via a video press conference that he donated $100,000 to the Blazers COVID-19 relief fund. 

The Trail Blazers established the fund in collaboration with their players to help support local nonprofits serving the community. Portland is already doing its part of the NBA Family’s goal of raising over $50 million. 

Oregon Ducks PG Payton Pritchard reminisces about working with former Trail Blazer Allen Crabbe

Oregon Ducks PG Payton Pritchard reminisces about working with former Trail Blazer Allen Crabbe

Buckle up for episode No. 103 of the Pull Up Pod with CJ McCollum!

This week, McCollum and ESPN NBA analyst Jordan Schultz give their sheltering in place updates while handing out book recommendations as we all continue to work together in flattening the curve of COVID-19.    

Plus, since this weekend should’ve been the Final Four weekend of the NCAA tournament, Oregon Ducks standout guard Payton Pritchard joins the guys.

Pritchard is very well known around the Portland area after taking home four straight state basketball titles for West Linn High School before becoming an Oregon Duck.

The 6’2” Oregon senior discussed what went into his decision to stay close to home and become a Duck.

“I knew Oregon was going to be a good fit. I had the opportunity to come in right away, to have the chance to start, and play, and be with a good team. I knew with my family being close... I just knew it was the right place,” Pritchard told McCollum.

[RELATED]: The 'Payton Pritchard Challenge' has spread all over social media

During Pritchard’s senior year in high school and early on his college days, he got the chance to workout with former Trail Blazer Allen Crabbe and AC’s trainer. From the sounds of it -- a lot of the training sessions were focused on improving Pritchard's shot and his ability to create off the dribble.  

Allen and all those different players out there I’ve been around, I just try to take things from everybody. For me, any level, even now like high school, college, NBA, if I see something I like or that I like about their game, I will definitely try to add it to mine or different training things they do. So, being in the gym with guys like Allen, and like when I was growing up being around Steve Blake, and just seeing their attention to detail and what it took… I just learned from that and added it to what I needed to do. -- Oregon Duck point guard Payton Pritchard on the Pull Up Pod

Pritchard also gave an update on what a typical day for him looks like during quarantine.

“Right now I’m sleeping in a little bit… So around 10, I’ll probably go out in the garage and start my ball handling – do a bunch of different ball handling drills and jump rope, and quick feet stuff, and that’ll take about an hour and that’ll be my morning session… I’ll run hills about three or four o’clock, and then at night, I’ll do some different strength stuff, lifting and stuff like that.” 

One thing’s for sure, the NBA draft hopeful is working on his game and his overall health right now.

He did admit to McCollum and Schultz that he loves cookies, though.

Listen to the entire Pull Up Pod RIGHT HERE