Boston Celtics

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 05: CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles against the Chicago Bulls in the first quarter at Moda Center on January 05, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Damian Lillard may not be a realistic trade option right now. But could the Robin to Dame’s Batman, C.J. McCollum, make more sense for the Celtics?

Unfortunately, that deal doesn’t seem particularly likely, either. But if you pay enough attention to the news cycle in sports, you know that things can change quickly. So when people in the Blazers organization tell reporters they aren’t trading a guy like McCollum, don’t give up hope just yet.

It doesn’t seem like NBA insiders Chris Mannix or Jared Weiss want to give up hope on McCollum going to the Celtics. Both named McCollum as a player they’d love to see on the C’s next season in an appearance on NBC Sports Boston Tuesday night. They also each explained why a trade isn’t realistic at the moment. But Mannix did a good job explaining why McCollum would be a good fit and an exciting player for the Celtics and their current stars.

“I should first say, from what I’ve been told, C.J. McCollum has been told he’s not getting traded this offseason, so it may be a moot point, but I think C.J. is the kind of player that would complement Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown well,” Mannix said. “He’s a lead guard, he’s offensive-oriented, he’s played alongside a volume scorer in Damian Lillard before, so some of this is not going to be new for him. And I think a change of scenery would do C.J. McCollum well.”

Weiss threw even more cold water on the idea of McCollum going to the Celtics, but did lay out a possible path: packaging a trade around Marcus Smart.

“The thing is, how do you even get C.J. McCollum if you’re the Celtics?” Weiss said. “Does Portland want to bring in Al Horford at this point? I assume they’re not going to make that flip. Marcus Smart could be an answer, along with a bunch of good young players, to maybe get some more playmaking depth around Damian Lillard. But you’ve got to remember, Portland’s goal right now is to convince Damian Lillard that they are gonna win with their new coaching hire in the next year or two.

“So if you’re trading away C.J. McCollum, you have to get an upgrade for your team in some regard. And there’s a huge gap between what the Celtics can offer, between Jaylen Brown – which I think would be foolish to offer for C.J. McCollum – and Marcus Smart, which I think wouldn’t be enough for them.”

If you’re a Celtics fan hoping for them to move on from Smart, you may enjoy Weiss’ idea. This trade still sounds like a longshot at this point, but it’s fun to think about, and we all know how quickly things can move.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.