The Portland Trail Blazers seem set in the backcourt for years to come with CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard at the controls. After Lillard got a contract extension earlier this summer, the Blazers have done likewise for McCollum, too.
As first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Blazers and McCollum have agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep McCollum under contract with Portland through 2023-24. Had he not agreed to this extension, valued at $100 million (per Wojnarowski), McCollum would have become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021. McCollum and Lillard will be under contract together for the next five seasons.
“CJ McCollum is a franchise cornerstone and a critical part of our future,” Blazers GM Neil Olshey said in a statement Tuesday. “This extension represents a strong level of commitment between CJ, the Trail Blazers and the city of Portland.”
As news of the extension became known, McCollum responded to congratulatory tweets from teammate Jusuf Nurkic and other fellow NBA players.
My dog ✊🏾 https://t.co/TAqbmF59wp— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) July 30, 2019
Thanks bruh ✊🏾 https://t.co/ZcyWQhw3k7— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) July 30, 2019
Thanks bruh https://t.co/VnywCCTEjP— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) July 30, 2019
Lillard signed his extension earlier this month and that deal will keep him with the Blazers through the 2024-25 season. Lillard's deal will will pay him $196 million over four seasons, per multiple reports.
McCollum, the 10th overall pick in the 2013 Draft, has blossomed into a star in short order with Portland. After averaging 6.3 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists in his first two NBA seasons, McCollum took flight in the 2015-16 season. In that campaign, he averaged 20.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 4.3 apg and collected Kia Most Improved Player honors that season.
Since then, he has continued to improve.
From 2017-18 through last season, McCollum has averaged 21.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 3.3 apg while shooting 39.8 percent on 3-pointers and 46.1 percent overall. He and Lillard have teamed to make Portland a contender in the Western Conference as it reached the conference finals in 2019 and the West semifinals in 2015-16. The Blazers won 53 games last season -- their most since 2014-15 -- and won the Northwest Division title in the 2017-18 season.
The Blazers reached the 2019 West finals in large part because of McCollum's performance in the Western Conference semifinals. In Game 7 of the series on the road vs. the Denver Nuggets, he came through with 37 points on 17-for-29 shooting on a night when Lillard struggled (3-for-17, 13 points). Although the Blazers were swept in the West finals by the Golden State Warriors, McCollum was solid in that series as well (22 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.5 apg).
McCollum and Lillard were withdrew from consideration for the Men's National Team roster schedule to compete at the FIBA World Cup later this summer in China.
In leading the Trail Blazers to their first Western Conference Finals appearance in nearly 20 years, Lillard and McCollum logged considerably more minutes than they're accustomed to. Though they were eventually swept in the conference finals, Portland's season didn't end until May 20, which made the offseason shorter for the Blazers' star duo.
Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com reports Lillard and McCollum not participating in the 2019 FIBA World Cup will not diminish either player's chances of making the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team. Both players have been busy this summer, with Lillard participating in shoots for "Space Jam 2" and McCollum having already spent a month in China this summer on tour with Li-Ning.