The Portland Trail Blazers were the NBA’s darlings last season. The team surprised everybody by winning 45 games and making the western conference semi-finals.
There were a lot of ways Portland could have went this offseason with their near $60 million under the cap, and they have decided to go all in on locking up their own young talent.
After re-signing Allen Crabbe for four years, $75 million and Meyers Leonard for four years, $41 million (and signing Evan Turner for four years, $72 million) the Blazers decided to lock up the other half of their exciting young back court by signing C.J. McCollum to a new four-year, $106 million contract.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 25, 2016
McCollum was the 2015-16 NBA Most Improved Player, as he averaged 20.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 80 games. He shot 45 percent from the field and a very impressive 42 percent from the three-point range.
The Blazers had plenty of motivation to get this deal done now as McCollum would have been a restricted free agent next summer and the Blazers would have had little if any cap space left to re-sign him.
This tweet perfectly sums up what it feels like to be C.J. McCollum at the moment…
— CSNNW (@CSNNW) July 25, 2016
Pretty crazy. In less than a year’s time McCollum went from a guy nearing the end of his rookie deal who had lots to prove in order to establish himself in the NBA to a guy getting paid $21.5 million per season.
It will be fun to see how Lillard and McCollum continue to grow together in Rip City.