Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum focused on improving his game, ‘not moved by’ trade rumors

Trail Blazers

Trade rumors involving CJ McCollum have been swirling since the Blazers fell to the Denver Nuggets just eight days ago in the first-round of the playoffs.

The veteran guard has seen the speculation, and he understands why fans want change.

On a recent episode of the Pull Up podcast, McCollum shed light on his name being brought up in trade rumors and doubled down on a recent interaction he had on Twitter where he said “everyone has a right to their own opinion.”

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“Honestly, I don’t take offense to people mentioning me in trades, or saying that I need to be traded, or I should be this or I should be that or my worth is XYZ, because I signed up for this life,” McCollum said on the Pull Up podcast. “I signed up to play sports. I’m thankful for it. I prayed for an opportunity to be in this position since I was a child.

 

“I dedicate my life, my time, and my soul to this so I’m not offended when people are under the opinion that I should be moved or I should be traded because as I said, I come from a small city in Canton, Ohio where kids would love to be in my position. They’d love to be in my position where they get to play for a living. They get to take care of their family, take care of their community, give back, inspire people, so I take it all in stride.”

McCollum, who has been playing in Portland alongside Lillard since 2013, is entering his second $100 million deal that he signed with the team through 2023-24. The formidable backcourt of McCollum and Lillard is one of the league’s best.

Over the past six seasons, McCollum has averaged 20-plus points per game for Portland.

McCollum began the 2021 season making a strong statement for his first All-Star nod. He was averaging 26.7 points per game in 13 games, before a fractured foot sidelined him for over two months. The eight-year veteran averaged 20.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists throughout the playoffs.

After another devastating first-round loss, many felt Portland could use some new faces in the lineup. Aside from Lillard, McCollum certainly has the most trade value of any other player, but is he available?

"Nothing is ever off the table if it advances us closer to a championship,” Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey said last week. 

For now, McCollum is one of four starters expected to return next season, and he’s not letting himself worry about trade chatter.

“I think it’s a sign that for one, you’ve done things the right way,” McCollum said. “That you do have some value, that people do have an interest in you. But for two, we did lose, we went through a tough season so some people in their minds feel like we need change, and there’s a lot of ways we can create change with our roster besides potentially trading me...

So, I understand people’s opinion on that and their take on that. I’m not affected by it, I’m not bothered by it, I’m not moved by it. I will continue to work on my game, continue to do what I can to help our team. 

- CJ McCollum