The Trail Blazers’ backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have been the subject of trade rumors all offseason, but both remain with Portland and both remain committed to the cause.
At least, that’s the word from McCollum, who said he suspects Lillard is excited to remain with the franchise and play for new coach Chauncey Billups.
“I don’t want to speak for him, but having a close relationship, him, 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,” McCollum said on Adrian Wojnarowski’s ESPN podcast, via Aaron Fentress of 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.”
Lillard reportedly would like to see the Blazers make some moves to put them in true championship contention, after a long series of ousters in the Western Conference playoffs.
“On all accounts, based on what I’ve heard, based on what I’ve seen, I think he just wants to win a championship and he wants to do it in Portland,” McCollum said. “We’ve talked about the parade route, we’ve shared what it would be like, what it would feel like, and that’s our goal. That’s his goal. I know it. We’ve spoken on it many times.”
Meanwhile, McCollum has said he himself never gets bogged down by trade rumors.
“Honestly, I don’t take offense to people mentioning me in trades, or saying that I need to be traded, or I should be this or I should be that or my worth is XYZ, because I signed up for this life,” McCollum said on the Pull Up podcast in June. “I signed up to play sports. I’m thankful for it. I prayed for an opportunity to be in this position since I was a child.
“I dedicate my life, my time, and my soul to this so I’m not offended when people are under the opinion that I should be moved or I should be traded because as I said, I come from a small city in Canton, Ohio where kids would love to be in my position.
“They’d love to be in my position where they get to play for a living. They get to take care of their family, take care of their community, give back, inspire people, so I take it all in stride.”
Earlier this summer, McCollum had been linked to the Cavaliers, 76ers and Spurs. Lillard continues to be linked to the 76ers as a potential target in a Ben Simmons deal.
This will mark the first season for both Lillard and McCollum playing for an NBA coach other than Terry Stotts, who mutually parted ways with the Blazers after the season.
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