REPORT: Knicks Newest Suitor For CJ McCollum
The NBA trade deadline is on Thursday, and teams across the League are looking to improve themselves any way they can. The Portland Trail Blazers count themselves amongst those teams.
The Knicks (24-29) are desperate for a boost to fan morale and an increase in wins. At 12th place, their struggles are thanks to an anemic offense ranked 24th in the League and a defense that’s fallen to 13th after being ranked fourth last season. Not to mention the inefficiency of Julius Randle and super-sub Derrick Rose being out of the lineup after undergoing ankle surgery in December.
On Friday, the Blazers traded wings Norman Powell and Robert Covington but remain in the mix to improve their team. As of Monday, Portland is still considering offers for CJ McCollum, who has received interest from the New Orleans Pelicans, although there is reportedly a new suitor for McCollum. According to CBS Sports and Marc Stein, that team is the New York Knicks.
McCollum can be a positive addition to their offense thanks to his sublime shooting and underrated playmaking abilities as a passer and shot creator. Playing or staggering Rose and McCollum could help prevent any offensive issues the Knicks would have whenever one of the two is out.
However, to make the trade happen, the Knicks might have to let Randle go, according to CBS Sports. t remains unclear if Portland wants to add Randle’s contract and if Randle is available at all. The Knicks also have draft capital they could spend in two first-round picks and their own team-controlled selections. New York also has mid-sized salaries to move if they need to match money with Portland.
Removing McCollum would also open the door for Anfernee Simons, who has broken out in his fourth year with Portland. The 22-year-old guard averages 15.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. Moving Powell helped open up more minutes for Simons, and doing so with McCollum would help create a spot in the starting lineup that Simons could fill.
A Lillard-Simons backcourt could help inject the energy that Blazers need to make a run for a play-in spot similar to what they did in the 2020 Orlando Bubble.
The next time Portland plays is Tuesday against the Orlando Magic at home. The Knicks return to action against the Jazz on Monday.