When he returned to the Moda Center on April 7, he led his new team, the New Orleans Pelicans, to a 127-94 victory.
During pregame visits, a 90-second ovation served as a sign of what McCollum sparked for the team and the city.
The reason why McCollum was traded is now on the verge of becoming competitive, and it's time that the Blazers' fans wish him the worst. Or, at the least, McCollum's new team loses.
The Blazers are preparing to play a play-in game tonight at 6:30 p.m., according to ESPN. The game is important to them because they received a conditional first-round draft pick in a package deal for McCollum, and that pick is now on the line.
If they make the playoffs, the Pelicans will retain the pick, or it is ranked among the top four selections of the 2022 draft. The NBA draft lottery will be held May 17.
If the match between the two teams falls between the two teams, the Blazers would receive a pick. New Orleans (36-46) ended the season with the 11th-worst record in the NBA. The Blazers (27-55) set a sixth-worst record.
While a Pelicans loss Wednesday night would prevent them from winning the postseason, a victory would not automatically propel them into the playoffs. The Los Angeles Clippers who lost 109-104 Tuesday at Minnesota will still have to defeat the Pelicans for a playoff spot.
While McCollum still resides in Rip City, many believe the franchise will be battling him and the Pelicans this week.
Josh Hart, who joined Portland in the McCollum business, admitted Monday to having mixed feelings about his former team and its postseason hopes. He has not reached the playoffs in five NBA seasons, including two with the Los Angeles Lakers, and said it's nice to see his former teammates doing well. Sort of.
I like those guys there," he said. We were really a tight-knit group there. I think I would not cheer them out. So, I think I want them to do well in the games. But maybe not win the games. Like, lose on a buzzer-beater. I'll not know."
Aaron Fentress | | (Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
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