April 8, 2022

Pelicans acquire C.J. McCollum in 7-player swap: sources | CBC Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans have acquired guard C.J. McCollum from the Portland Trail Blazers as part of a seven-player trade, according to two people familiar with the situation.

The Pelicans will also receive forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell in the deal, while the Trail Blazers get Josh Hart, Tomas Staoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Didi Louzada, as well as draft compensation in the form or a 2022 protected first round draft choice and two future second-rounders. The people spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been made official.

The trade marks the end of an era on Portland, where McCollum has been paired with Damian Lillard in the backcourt since 2013. Portland has reached the playoffs every season since they drafted McCollum. However, the Blazers struggled in the postseason, reaching the Western Conference finals only once while being eliminated in the first round five times.

The 30-year-old McCollum is averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds this season.

He gives the Pelicans a needed outside shooting threat at a time when New Orleans appears to be on the upswing under first-year coach Willie Green — despite playing without star forward Zion Williamson all season. After starting 1-12, the Pelicans (21-32) entered Tuesday’s games on the heels of a three-game road winning streak and occupying the final play-in spot in the Western Conference.

Williamson, incidentally, has been in Oregon trying to rehabilitate from off-season surgery to repair his fractured right foot. It is unclear if he will be ready to return at all this season.

New Orleans is making less than 33% from 3-point range this season and they are 29th in the league 3-pointers made. McCollum has shot no less than 37.5% from beyond the arc every season from deep in every season of his career, while shooting 38.4% overall for his career.

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