The Portland Trail Blazers have already put in motion their obvious plans to reshape the roster in an effort to put a better team around superstar guard Damian Lillard, and Tuesday’s big trade of CJ McCollum was step one in that process.
Lillard and McCollum were considered one of the NBA’s premier backcourt tandems for several seasons, but will no longer be sharing the backcourt for the Blazers.
“This is something that me and C, we talked about it over the years, like, this being a possibility” Lillard said of the trade, during an interview with NBA.com’s Case Holdahl. “I would say in the last three years it was always something where me and him would talk and he would be like “You know, I might be out of here,” just loosely saying stuff like that and I’d be like “Nah, I don’t think so.” But as time went on we both knew that it’s going to come a point where we might not be a backcourt anymore, whether that was him getting traded or me getting traded. You just never know where teams are, we don’t know as players all the time.”
Lillard went on the express his appreciation for McCollum.
“As a friend and a teammate, I love CJ, that’s like a real friend of mine, not just my teammate” he continued.
“We always been transparent and nothing was different this time where it was like, “I think something could happen” and he was like “Yeah, I know something is going to be coming up.” It is what it is, we both knew that this point would be coming. But that don’t make it no easier to deal with. I think that’s where I am now. Me and him literally talked about it happening, the possibility of it and it was likely and stuff like that, and I still woke up this morning like, sad. It’s actually done. When I’m seeing “CJ To The Pelicans” and stuff like that, it’s like damn, ain’t no coming back from this, this is it. It ain’t gonna be no every day, pull up to the house, dinner on the road, all that stuff. It’s done, he’s on a new team. As much as I understood it and he understood it and we kind of have always communicated in a transparent way, it don’t make it any easier to deal with or to look at. Like man, is it really over? Is the run really over? And that’s where we are”