Norman Powell is reportedly on the move.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Toronto Raptors have traded Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.
Toronto has traded Norm Powell to Portland for Gary Trent and Rodney Hood, sources tell ESPN.- Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Powell is having the best season of his career, averaging 19.6 points on 49.8 percent shooting from the field and 43.9 percent from 3-point range, but he has an $11.6 million player option in his contract for the 2021-22 season that he is expected to decline to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, executives expect Powell to get a $20 million annual salary on his next contract. With Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby already under contract for the foreseeable future, it put the Raptors in a tricky position of paying Powell big money to keep him a part of their core or losing him for nothing in free agency.
In return, the Raptors are reportedly getting Trent and Hood. Trent will be a restricted free agent at the season's end, giving the Raptors an opportunity to match any offer he receives in free agency. As for Hood, he's on the books for $10.0 million this season and $10.9 million next season, although his contract for 2021-22 is only partially guaranteed.
MORE: What does Rodney Hood bring to the Raptors?
Of the two, Trent is the bigger draw for the Raptors. The 37th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Trent is also having the best season of his career, averaging 15.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. The bulk of his scoring is coming from the 3-point line, where he's made 42.1 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts and 35.8 percent of his pull-up attempts so far this season, per NBA.com.
He's quietly been one of the league's best 3-point shooters this season.
Trent is a capable shooter from midrange as well. According to NBA.com, almost a quarter (24.0 percent) of his field-goal attempts this season have been 2-point pull-ups and he's made 36.5 percent of those opportunities. He hasn't been a particularly efficient scorer out of the pick-and-roll, ranking in the 33rd percentile, but his ability to shoot off the dribble from midrange and 3-point range make it a part of his game we could see more in the years to come.
Trent will likely fill a similar role in Toronto as Powell did, giving the Raptors a knockdown shooter who can make some plays off the dribble. (It helps that he's played next to All-Star talent before, having been teammates with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland). A key difference: Trent is five years younger than Powell and should be much cheaper moving forward.
Powell is the better player now, but Trent could be a better player down the road for the Raptors.
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