KEY POINTS

  • CJ McCollum takes trade talks in stride
  • A trade involving McCollum was mooted after the announcement of his diagnosis
  • Chauncey Billups is trying to figure out how to win games without his top stars

CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers has been grounded after being diagnosed with a collapsed lung.

However, this was not the only thing that kept on pestering the 2016 NBA Most Improved Player in the news as he has been linked to a potential trade scenario involving Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.

This stemmed from the comments of teammate Damian Lillard of wanting to play alongside the 25-year-old Australian cager.

Hopes of possibly getting a McCollum-for-Simmons trade were shot as soon as it cropped up. This was further mooted after the Blazers released an injury report on Tuesday, December 7, revealing that the 6-foot-3 guard will be sidelined indefinitely due to pneumothorax, NBA.com reported.

Since then, the trade talk has toned down. McCollum is now focusing on getting better, but the questions surrounding a possible transfer are not expected to bog down.

Speaking to Tania Ganguli of the New York Times, the 10th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft knows that these distractions are something beyond his control.

“I can’t control any of the noise that comes with playing this game. I can say that as a basketball player you will be involved at some point in rumors regardless of the magnitude because you play a sport. The media kind of dictates the storyline. Success and failure also play a role,” McCollum stated.

The Sixers already mentioned that they were not interested in a deal anchored on McCollum. This was according to Kyle Nuebeck of The PhillyVoice who stressed that the franchise has their eyes on an even bigger fish.

With that said, Portland will have to find another way to get a Simmons deal done if they are truly bent on acquiring the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year.

But with the talent they have right now far from matching the demands set by the Sixers, any hope of that happening has become remote.

CJ McCollum CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles upcourt during the second half of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Dec. 23, 2017. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Portland currently holds an 11-16 win-loss record in the Western Conference and has lost five games in a row.

First-year head coach Chauncey Billups needs to find ways to get the Blazers back on track. But without McCollum and Lillard, achieving that will not be easy.