The Trail Blazers have had one of the best backcourt duos in the NBA for years, but they’ve never been able to make a run to the Finals, which has sparked talk of the team blowing up the roster.
And while the team has been quiet about the rumors, as well as Damian Lillard — who’s been in the center of them — one of the Blazers’ other stars seems to vehemently disagree with the talk of the 31-year-old MVP candidate potentially being moved.
Lillard and McCollum have anchored the backcourt since 2013, since the Lehigh product was drafted, and earned Rookie of the Year honors. And while they both put up great numbers individually, it’s just not translating into team success. Although the Blazers deserve the lion’s share of the criticism, for their emphasis in the backcourt, rather than surrounding Jusuf Nurkic with help up front. Their lack of depth in the frontcourt has really hurt the team, especially in the playoffs.
And that’s why the trade rumors involving Lillard have been swirling, but McCollum doesn’t seem to believe they have weight.
“I don’t want to speak for him, but having a close relationship, he and I talk every day, or every other day, from sharing memes to sending videos to each other to serious talks about our season, what it takes to win, what it’s going to takes to win a championship, I have a pretty good sense of where he’s at,” Lillard said, on The Woj Pod, as transcribed by The Oregonian. “And I think his goal is to win a championship. I think, at the end of the day, that’s what we all want. We want to put ourselves in the best position to win a championship. But I mean, he’s all-in. I think at this stage I can say that he’s all-in. He just wants to win at the end of the day.”
That’s all well and good, but we’ll need to hear Lillard himself speak before drawing conclusions about his future with the team.