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

CJ MCCOLLUM, knicks

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.

WATCH: Julius Randle in heated moment with Knicks video coordinator

New York Knicks star Julius Randle finds himself in another controversy following a heartbreaking 21-point collapse in Los Angeles.

In a viral video that has garnered over 1 million views as of posting time, Randle is seen in a heated confrontation with Knicks video coordinator Scott King.

New York coach Tom Thibodeau brushed it aside when he talked to reporters following its Monday shootaround in Utah. Thibodeau labeled the confrontation as a ‘heat of the moment’ episode between two competitive individuals trying to win.

King joined the Knicks in the 2019-20 season as an assistant video coordinator after working as a video intern with the Detroit Pistons (208-19) and basketball operations personnel at Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana Pacers’ affiliate team, in the G League (2017-18).

While cooler heads (assistant coaches Johnnie Bryant and Kenny Payne) prevailed and prevented a full-blown physical altercation between Randle and King, it was another black eye on Randle, who is in the midst of a disappointing season marred by his statistical regression and exacerbated by his earlier media boycott, poor body language and a run-in with the referees and fans.

Randle’s name has recently come up in trade rumors as the Knicks are reportedly interested in Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Portland’s CJ McCollum. With just four days left before the trade deadline, Randle’s performance and behavior bear watching as the Knicks (24-29) continue their tough West Coast trip that will culminate in Portland on Saturday.

The Knicks are currently two games behind 10th seed Atlanta Hawks (25-28) in the competitive Eastern Conference.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Report: Knicks emerge as legitimate trade suitor for CJ McCollum

New York Knicks, CJ McCollum

With four days left before the trade deadline, the New York Knicks appear to be pivoting from seller’s mode and scrambling to salvage this season.

The Knicks have reportedly shown strong interest to acquire Portland’s CJ McCollum, viewed as a win-now move.

“Two rival teams say that the Knicks are emerging as a legitimate trade suitor for Portland’s CJ McCollum. The Pelicans, until now, have been most frequently mentioned as the leaders of the McCollum chase if another trade materializes for the Trail Blazers after their Friday deal with the LA Clippers to send out Norman Powell and Robert Covington,” Stein wrote on his substack newsletter Monday.

The 30-year old McCollum has successfully recovered from a collapsed lung and is averaging 20.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists with a 44/39/71 shooting split over 36 games so far this season. But his scoring average is his lowest since his sophomore season and the emergence of Anfernee Simons has made him expendable.

The Trail Blazers have traded away veterans Norman Powell and Robert Covington to put them under the luxury tax. Trading away McCollum for expiring salaries and future assets will give them cap flexibility to reshape their roster around Damian Lillard and Simons.

The Knicks have veterans on team-friendly contracts and assets to lure Portland. But they have a strong competition in the Pelicans who are willing to move their most attractive asset Josh Hart, a young and emerging two-way player who is on a current three-year deal worth $37.9 million with the last year as a club option.

McCollum is on the first year of a three-year, $100-million extension. But at 30 years old, the scoring guard might be on a decline with several injuries — from sprains in both knees and multiple left foot injuries — hampered his availability over the last few years. He also played through a fracture in his spine during the NBA’s truncated Orlando bubble.

The Knicks seem desperate to salvage this season. They are five games out of .500 but still in the running for a play-in spot in the competitive Eastern Conference. 

It will be interesting to watch how this plays out, especially with the Knicks visiting Portland two days after the trade deadline.

Another important thing to note on Stein’s report is Toronto’s willingness to attach a draft pick to Goran Dragic’s expiring salary. This is the kind of deal that this present Knicks front office had leveraged in the past. The Cavaliers’ package to acquire Caris LeVert from Indiana has inspired the Raptors to structure a similar deal around Dragic’s expiring salary.

“League sources say Toronto is exploring its trade options with the similar base offer of a first-round pick attached to Goran Dragic’s $19.4 million expiring deal,” Stein wrote.

The Raptors are reportedly seeking a center to fortify their Pascal Siakam-OG Anunoby-Fred VanVleet-Gary Trent Jr.-Scottie Barnes core. They have also been linked to Atlanta Hawks’ Danilo Gallinari, meaning the Raptors are also in the market for scoring punch off the bench.

The Knicks have a slew of veterans on team-friendly contracts, including Nerlens Noel, to dangle. Noel is averaging 1.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals this season and appears to have shaken off the injury bug that slowed him down. Last season, Noel averaged 2.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals as the Knicks’ primary center that catapulted them to a surprising playoff appearance.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks News, 7/6: CJ McCollum a trade target? Stat-stuffing big man in the 1st round

cj McCollum, knicks

The New York Knicks are approaching the upcoming off-season with optimism regarding talent acquisition and the upgrading of the roster. The team has the ammo to engage in trade talks for a few big-name players. Alternatively, they can sit still and deploy their draft selections appropriately and allocate the funds to pick up free agents.

One big name that has been floating around the media lately is Damian Lillard, and with the Portland Trailblazers preparing to hire a new head coach and make a few big decisions for the future, one player who could be on the chopping block is CJ McCollum. McCollum recently signed a three-year, $100 million extension, averaging $33 million per season until the 2023-24 campaign.

McCollum is currently 29 years old and had one of his best seasons to date this past year. As a primary shooting guard, McCollum averaged 23.1 points, 4.7 access, and shot nearly 46% from the field. He also connected on 40% of his shots from range over 8.9 times per game. He was a catalyst for Portland, and if the Knicks want to inject a high-profile shooter into the lineup, McCollum could easily fit the bill.

Alternatively, $33 million is a lot to spend on a complementary player — the Knicks could potentially lure Chris Paul in for a similar amount to feature as the star point guard.

Nonetheless, if big names are flying off the market and the Knicks are left scratching their heads in contempt, trading for McCollum could make sense. He would give Randle the appropriate shooting option to pair with, demanding some attention and opening up the floor for options like RJ Barrett.

An interesting option for New York, especially if Lillard isn’t dealt and Portland is looking to part ways with above average and expensive talent.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”x0wz3n7g6k” question=”What do you think?” opened=”0″]Do you think the Knicks should consider a CJ McCollum trade if other options are off the board? Comment below![/wpdiscuz-feedback]

Taking a look at one stat-stuffing big man the Knicks could target in the draft:

The 2021 NBA draft is thin at the center position, but one young option who could develop into a fantastic traditional big man is Alperen Sengun of Turkey.

The 6’9”, 235-pound 19-year-old has the potential to be an elite scoring big man, as he’s ranked as the 2nd best center in the draft class. Not only is Sengun capable of dominating in the paint with natural instincts and facilitator vision, but he also has an adequate short-range jump shot. At such a young age, he has plenty of room to grow in multiple categories.

While his offense is above average, Sengun’s defense could use a bit of refinement. He still has time to grow and add more mass to his frame, and if he can turn into a solid defender, the Turkey native could end up being a star at the NBA level. Of course, head coach Tom Thibodeau would have to deal with the lack of defense on his end during his rookie season, but he offers instant offense in the paint and a potential long-term solution in the frontcourt. There is a chance he is available with a 19th overall pick for the Knicks this year.

Any interest in Sengun as a prospect rather for the Knicks? Comment below!

New York Knicks quietly keeping tabs on CJ McCollum

New York Knicks, CJ McCollum

The New York Knicks have actively been considering trading for a star this season, especially with the rise of Julius Randle and the establishment of Immanuel Quickley. The Knicks are playing above expectations, inching out an impressive win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday evening. Winning by just four points, Randle scored 25, RJ Barrett contributed 21, and the remainder of the starting five put up no fewer than 10 points. All around, the Knicks were impressive, as they are just one game away from a .500 record.

As they push for a potential playoff spot as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, there is still plenty of time for New York to fall back into old habits. However, under new coaching and management, they seem to be a more disciplined and refined team.

To assist them in this impressive turnaround, acquiring a premium player in a trade seems like a good move, but it could be extremely costly. The Knicks would realistically have to give up multiple first-round picks and possibly a young player, as reported for the acquisition of Bradley Beal. It isn’t likely they’re going to offer up RJ Barrett anytime soon, but rather try and utilize pieces like Kevin Knox to get the ball moving.

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Knicks have been “monitoring” star Portland guard McCollum.

What would McCollum offer the New York Knicks?

McCollum is a dominant player who has increasingly gotten better over the past few seasons. He’s averaging 26.7 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.9 total rebounds per game over 13 starts. McCollum has been dealing with a left mid-foot fracture which he suffered on January 16 against the Atlanta Hawks, but he’s inching toward a return in a little over a week.

With 72 games in a regular NBA season, McCollum has proven to be healthy over the last six years, so I wouldn’t consider this injury anything too problematic. The Knicks likely have their eyes set on multiple options they can target in a potential trade. If there’s any time to inject a premium player into their lineup and completely revitalize this turnaround, it is now.

CJ offers a consistent shooter from the field, a fantastic three-point shooter, and also plays solid defense. The question is, will the Trailblazers even be willing to include him in a trade.