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CJ McCollum traded to New Orleans after memorable run with Portland


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CJ McCollum traded to New Orleans after memorable run with Portland


Dame Lillard (l.) and CJ McCollumIllustration: Getty Images

I just saw CJ McCollum in Chicago like a week ago. He seemed fine — he had 29 on 13-of-23 from the floor and played well — but the team wasn’t itself anymore. It was a Sunday morning, and I was in bed when my girlfriend asked, “Hey Portland’s playing today. Want to go?”

Like any good Trail Blazers fan when asked if they want to see Rip City when it’s in town visiting, I said, “Hell yeah.” Honestly, though, I didn’t even know they were playing at the United Center that day, as my usual fervor for the Blazers has been muted this year because Damian Lillard is hurt and they’re not very good. (I always follow them, just not in the normal “When are they coming to town?” style that I’m accustomed to this season.)

I thought Portland would be good because they usually are with Lillard and McCollum heading up the backcourt, but Murphy’s Law has been in effect all season, and now it’s over. Not the Lillard era (hopefully), the CJ-Dame era. The Blazers traded McCollum, Tony Snell, and Larry Nance to the New Orleans Pelicans for Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickel Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, and a first-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

An experiment that many already knew the results of, it turns out having two of the most talented shotmakers I’ve ever rooted for doesn’t matter when they’re both 6-foot-3. Even if it didn’t produce a title, it was cool, though.

I can’t remember if it was after McCollum’s breakout playoff series (the beatdown at the hands of Memphis when he finally saw playing time because Portland was beaten so badly) or after his breakout season (the year following The Revenant-esque massacre when Lamarcus Aldridge bolted for San Antonio because he was mauled so badly) when McCollum responded to a question about the next progression in his game with something along the lines of, “I’m just going to keep working on my offense.”

I was so mad at the time because he was already really good offensively. Portland didn’t need more offense, they needed defense, and how much could he…



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