Grades: Pelicans and Trail Blazers trade for CJ McCollum

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New Orleans Pelicans, Josh Hart

New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart ( Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans made the biggest move of the trade deadline so far, acquiring CJ McCollum in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

McCollum had been in consistent rumors involving the Pelicans, so this wasn’t a complete surprise, but it’s always a bittersweet day when a fan-favorite gets traded. The deal was centered around Josh Hart, one of the Pels’ leaders and a popular player with fans.

New Orleans also sent promising young player Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, who won’t play this season and a range of picks that could change based on where the Pelicans end up in the standings.

The parameters of the original report changed when Larry Nance and Tony Snell were revealed to be part of the deal, which did seem to benefit both teams in myriad ways.

The end of two eras

The Portland Trail Blazers are saying goodbye to the Lillard/McCollum era, and Portland fans are undoubtedly sad to see McCollum go, as he was a great player for them and is one of the most likable and reliable players in the league.

The Pelicans will say goodbye to Josh Hart, who hadn’t been with the organization as long as McCollum but had grown into a fan favorite and is also a likable and reliable guy.

New Orleans is also giving up NAW in the deal, a throw-in to the trade that I hope doesn’t come back to haunt them someday, as he has shown flashes of stardom at times though it has been wildly inconsistent. I honestly won’t miss yelling “NOOOOO!” at the TV every time he launched a 3-point shot, but I wish him well in Portland.

Let’s get to the grades.

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