Cavs rumors: CLE listed as ‘possible destination’ for CJ McCollum, but would be lateral move

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum shoots the ball. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum shoots the ball. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers do appear to have a nice young core of Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro and Jarrett Allen. On that subject, Allen would seem to likely end up being extended this offseason with him being a restricted free agent, and Sexton is extension-eligible.

That said, even while it’s tough for me to read much into it, two NBA people did reportedly stated that with a sizeable Allen extension/new deal very well set to come and Sexton’s camp feasibly looking for that, that Cleveland could potentially considering trading Sexton. That’s per Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer.

With Sexton’s upward trajectory though, and Cavs general manager Koby Altman being high on Sexton and Allen both and having noted that they both want to be in Cleveland long-term with the media recently, I do believe they’ll be Cavs for the long haul. That’s currently, at least.

Cavaliers players seem to mostly be huge fans of both and Sexton’s work ethic, in particular, is not discounted, either.

Nonetheless, Altman did also state that he/the organization does want to “supplement” the squad’s young core, and wants to aid the team in seemingly taking the next step/pushing for the postseason.

He seemingly alluded to wanting to add more three-point shooting, given Cleveland’s perimeter shooting inconsistencies last season, and/or did hit on how the team does intend to utilize the non-taxpayer mid-level exception to help in that way perhaps/help overall.

Somewhat along the perimeter shooting lines, albeit in a trade sense, it was recently noted in a report from CNBC’s Jabari Young that Cleveland could be a “possible destination” for the Portland Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum via potential trade.

Young did then list the San Antonio Spurs, LA Clippers and Miami Heat as other possible destinations from there, though, and those seemed far more likely in relation to assets one would think Portland would more so be interested in. The Spurs have been rumored to have interest in CJ, but per Young, he has not reportedly gained “traction within their trade scenarios.”

As far as the potential for a McCollum trade, that stems from now-former Portland head coach Terry Stotts and the team parting ways last week, and clubs around the NBA are said to be monitoring Damian Lillard’s availability in the event he could be on the market at some point. That’s per a report from Jason Quick of The Athletic and Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (subscription required).

Needless to say, it’s from with how the Blazers have had four first-round postseason exits in the past five years, as Young stressed, and seemingly could be looking to change some things, meaning that as an aside, McCollum could perhaps be on the market. Young seemingly alluded to how Portland needs to get better defensively, and that in an overall sense, McCollum “could attract a healthy return.”

All of that said, to me, Cleveland wouldn’t seem likely, frankly, to be that high of a possibility as a trade landing spot for McCollum and it’s tough to see the clear impact from my perspective.

Cavs rumors about McCollum seem a bit out there, and that’d be a lateral move, in my opinion.

He’s set to have a three-year extension begin with him due to make nearly $31, 33 and then nearly $36 million per season from there, and even with realistically a multi-team deal in the cards if a deal were to be pursued, it’s not simple for the Cavs.

Kevin Love has previously been linked to Portland in Cavs rumors involving possible trades, but at this point after injury limitations this past season and his health being a question mark year-to-year, it’s tough to foresee Portland strongly considering that.

Although perhaps Cleveland’s first-round pick this season, or that for a 2022 lottery-protected pick could feasibly be attached with Love, or multiple second-round picks of the Cavs’ own in the next few seasons. But it’s difficult to foresee second-rounders being of that much value with Love still set to make over $60 million over the next two seasons.

As an alternative, would the Cavaliers offer Love and perhaps Collin Sexton? Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz suggested that and a 2022 second-rounder (via San Antonio) for CJ and Derrick Jones Jr.

Again, I don’t see that with Sexton in Year 3, having led Cleveland again in scoring with 24.3 points per game on 57.3 percent true shooting, and showing noticeable growth as a secondary playmaker and off-ball player, that being something I’d be interested in, though.

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And honestly, with Sexton being just 22, I wouldn’t interested in him in a potential package for McCollum. Maybe that sounds odd, but McCollum is 29 and while he’s a very capable three-level scorer, Sexton in terms of production, I don’t believe is that far off from him even in a potential postseason push scenario.

Now I’m not saying Collin, even while he has hit 38.5 percent from three-point range in his career thus far, is the shooter McCollum is, though.

McCollum hit 37.5, 37.9 percent and 40.2 percent from deep in the past three seasons in the regular season, and that’s been on 6.4, 7.3 and 8.9 three-point attempts in those last three campaigns.

McCollum also has an oustanding handle, whereas Sexton does need to improve in that area. McCollum is a more capable off-movement shooter at this point, too, comparatively.

In any case, what I’m getting at is, whether or not the Cavs would be able to have a shot at bringing in McCollum, one would have to assume that’d take one of their young core with Love, and/or maybe a draft pick as an alternative.

And whether or not Sexton would need to be included in a potential package, Sexton would be marginalized from there, and honestly, for McCollum, while he’s a very good player, I don’t believe would be worth marginalizing Sexton for, at this point.

One can say that’s a weird take, but while McCollum would be a nice leadership presence, one would think, and he has plenty of postseason experience, he’s frankly a far older player that is another pretty ball-dominant 2 guard. That’d force Sexton, if he even were to stick around, to a bench role, which wouldn’t be wise from here, and it’d obviously stunt his growth.

As an alternative, even with a player like McCollum, who is a native of Canton, for what it’s worth, potentially available, I’d much rather Cleveland look to sign a reserve guard such as T.J. McConnell to supplement the core, or Patty Mills and/or Frank Ntilikina. That’s factored in with looking to add a quality draft pick come late July, too.

Or maybe, if Cleveland were to look to move in the 2021 NBA Draft, if they looked to move Sexton in that case to aid in them getting up to a top 3 pick, if they don’t land there, I could understand that more.

Granted, I’d much rather in general the Cavs not entertain moving Sexton, who would seem to be affected the most by a potential move for McCollum or maybe in a different move down the road, anyway.

Regardless, to me, while McCollum is again a very good player, it’s not as if he’s a strong defender, nor does he have Sexton’s athleticism, and he’s not getting younger. A potential move for him would be a lateral one, from my perspective, given the circumstances.

Albeit with those other rumored teams seemingly having better assets (whether or not San Antonio were to pursue a deal), I still wouldn’t foresee Cleveland being that serious of a contender for landing McCollum. That’s at least for now, either way.

So while we’ll have to see as far as more potential Cavs rumors about McCollum perhaps to come, currently, I wouldn’t necessarily expect this to gain a ton of traction. Of course, we’ll have to see and I’m not discounting what Young stated.

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But I frankly wouldn’t foresee that pickup, while I’d get the interest from an intangible standpoint, to be that impactful as of right now unless McCollum would level up a ton not being with Lillard. I’m just not sure that’s that reasonable with McCollum, whose had 21.0 points, 22.2 points and 23.1 points per outing the past three seasons, but is seven years older than Sexton, to do so.