On Tuesday, their time together came to a close when McCollum was sent to New Orleans as part of a blockbuster trade with the Pelicans. Portland also included Tony Snell and Larry Nance Jr. in the deal and received Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada and two draft picks in return.
Last night, Lillard posted a heartfelt tribute to McCollum on Instagram, saying that even though he "knew this day would come" it still hurts to see their partnership end.
Grateful for our brotherhood and friendship above all bra… we knew this day would come but it doesn’t make it any easier. Hurt my heart to know shit won’t be the same but the love gone always remain C! You know what time it is with me always. All the best going forward my brother.
In 564 career games with Portland, McCollum averaged 19.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per appearance while shooting 39.6% from three-point range and 82.0% at the free throw line.
Ultimately, Portland elected to deal McCollum, even though Lillard has also been the subject of intense trade rumors for a while. Right now though, the Trail Blazers are reportedly planning on building around the six-time All-Star.
“Portland’s plan is to fully reshape roster around Damian Lillard now,” ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Tuesday. “Portland created a $21M trade exception today, potentially $60M in salary cap space this summer, multiple draft picks and assets via Pels and Clippers trades. Plan is to pursue high-end talent now, not retreat.”
The Trail Blazers are currently 21-34 overall and in 11th place in the Western Conference.