Each and every year, the Portland Trail Blazers come up with some kind of plan to shape a championship roster around Damian Lillard. It's usually all talk, no action. That could change this offseason.
The Trail Blazers traded CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. They received a few so-so players in return in addition to some draft compensation.
On the surface, there's no clear point as to what Portland is trying to accomplish. Luckily, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski cleared things up with a simple explanation.
The Trail Blazers have no plans to deal Damian Lillard this summer. Instead, they're going to utilize nearly $60 million in cap space to land some big-time talents later this year.
"Portland's plan is to fully reshape roster around Damian Lillard now," said Woj. "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."
We've heard this story before, though. Time and time again, the Trail Blazers have let Damian Lillard down. Maybe this time will be different.
Trading CJ McCollum was a long-overdue necessity. The Blazers were never going to win a title with McCollum being the team's No. 2.
Now, the Trail Blazers can set their eyes on this summer where they could end up being a major player in the free-agent sweepstakes.
It's now or never for an organization hoping to make the most of Lillard's veteran years.