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#pounditMonday, May 27, 2024

CJ McCollum makes interesting Damian Lillard prediction

CJ McCollum warming up

Apr 5, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) warms up before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

CJ McCollum knows Damian Lillard better than most, which makes the former Portland Trail Blazer’s prediction even more intriguing.

McCollum appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” Wednesday and offered up his thoughts on whether Lillard will ultimately seek to leave the Blazers this offseason. In McCollum’s opinion, Lillard has likely played his last game in Portland.

“The franchise is at a crossroads where they need to make a decision,” McCollum said. “The market will dictate what happens here. … I don’t think he’s going to request out, but I will say this. I think based on how the draft goes and what happens leading up to the draft, if they’re not positioned to have what we consider a title-contending team or a puncher’s chance, they will have a discussion where they try to figure out what’s best for him and where he should go.

“If I was a betting man, I would say this is the last that we’ve seen of him there, but I’m not a betting man and I think he’s going to let this play out.”

McCollum emphasized that while he speaks with Lillard regularly, the Blazers guard has not given any indication as to his thinking.

On the other hand, Lillard has obviously given a trade at least a little bit of thought. He has been remarkably loyal to Portland despite a lack of major playoff success, but he turns 33 in July and the team does not appear close to contention. The Blazers are trying very hard to change that, but it might not be possible to pull off the necessary moves in one offseason.

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