Who could the Knicks trade to acquire Trailblazers’ guard CJ McCollum?

CJ MCCOLLUM, knicks
Feb 4, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum (3) warms up prior to a game against the Oklahoma City at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks need a jolt of energy, and the trade deadline offers a perfect opportunity to inject some fresh blood into the mix. At this point in the season, the front office can come to the conclusion that their free-agent signings have been lackluster, as Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker have contributed nearly nothing on defense and provided inconsistent scoring production.

The Knicks have been linked to a myriad of players from different teams over the past few weeks, and the latest is CJ McCollum of the Portland trailblazers, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein.

The Trailblazers have been listening to offers on McCollum, who was also connected to the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans.

After McCollum signed a three-year, $100 million contract extension this past off-season, the Knicks could look to swap a few contracts and consume the remainder of his deal, averaging about $30 million per.

Including Fournier and his three-year, $73 million deal would be obvious, but throwing in Alec Burks and the fresh three-year, $30 million deal he just signed would be a bonus. If Portland is simply trying to get McCollum’s money off the books, the Knicks can offer two players for the price of one.

Currently sitting in the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks could use McCollum and his 20.5 points per game. He’s also contributing 4.5 assists, shooting 43.6% from the field and 38.4% from three-point range. Altogether, McCollum could be a perfect fit alongside Julius Randle, who was caught yelling at the team’s video coordinator during an overtime loss against the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night.

The question is, are the Knicks actually interested in consuming a contract that is arguing more lucrative than the extension Randle signed this past off-season? If they truly believe they can win with a Randle and McCollum duo, it makes perfect sense, but taking on two deals of that size comes with the risks, and they would be taking a big one, especially with Julius on the fritz.

Alternatively, the Knicks could look to swap Randle for McCollum, as they have similar contracts and the Blazers could see a Randle-Lillard pairing as lucrative.