Trail Blazers

James Harden trade rumors not weighing on CJ McCollum's mind

Trail Blazers
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Christian James McCollum put on a show on Saturday.

The Blazers star dropped 44 points on a career-high nine three-pointers, including what would be the eventual game-winner in overtime.

The performance was spectacular and was made even more so by the player matched up against McCollum across the court: James Harden.

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Harden has made public his desire to be traded from Houston, and on Christmas Eve news broke that Portland was one of the preferred destinations for the former league MVP.

So, when Houston matched up with Portland on Saturday all eyes were on the Harden - McCollum matchup. 

Why? Because if a trade were to happen McCollum would likely be involved, a fact not lost on McCollum.

When asked postgame what he thought about the Harden rumors, McCollum responded in jest. "I thought, 'oh that's cool. James has opened his list to more teams."

What am I supposed to think? I play the same position as James. If there's a trade for James who's gonna be in the trade?

CJ McCollum on James Harden trade rumors

But really, what is he supposed to think? McCollum knows that in order for Harden to land in Portland, he would most likely have to pack his bags. Whether he has to pack those bags or not is beyond his control. In the meantime, all McCollum can do is continue to show up and show out.

"I do my job. I just show up and go to work. Go home and try to be a good man. You know, call my grandma on holidays. I can't control nothing else. I can't control the rumors. I can't control if something happens. All I can control is my mentality and how I approach the game."

 

Rumors are flying around and there is no doubt McCollum has heard them more than once. He has done a great job silencing that noise and keeping his sound approach. 

Even so, getting a chance to play against Harden in the midst of all the chaos would get anyone extra hyped. Anyone except McCollum that is. 

When asked about being psyched to play Harden, McCollum was refreshingly blunt in his analysis.

I don't need to psych myself out to go play against one of the best players in the world. James is really good. Regardless of what James does in his spare time, James is really f***ing good at basketball. He's really good.

CJ McCollum on James Harden

And no trade rumors or drama in Houston will change that -- James Harden is really f-ing good at basketball. Luckily for Portland, so is CJ McCollum.