Last year, there were questions about whether the Trail Blazers should keep Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum together.
This year, Portland is investing heavily to keep both guards for the long haul.
The Trail Blazers signed Lillard to a super-max extension that projects to be worth $196 million over four years. Now, they’re giving McCollum an extension.
That’s a lot to pay McCollum, who’ll turn 28 before next season, was already locked up for two more seasons and has never been an All-Star. He’s a good scorer with shot-creation ability all over the floor. That skill is highly important. But he has a limited all-around game, and his 6-foot-3 frame will make it difficult to expand his contributions.
Still, there’s value in securing good players. Portland is ensuring a star remains locked in beyond 2021.
McCollum will earn $27,556,959 and $29,354,152 the next two seasons. Then, his extension will kick in and run through his age-32 season.
For reference, McCollum’s max extension would have been $114,128,943 over three years. That mark might have served as a key reference point in contract negotiations. But it was difficult to see McCollum getting his max this far before free agency.
The Trail Blazers are coming off their deepest playoff run in nearly two decades. McCollum played a key role in advancing to the Western Conference finals. Portland clearly wants to maintain continuity after such a strong season.
But with Lillard and now McCollum, it came at a substantial cost.