Portland Trail Blazers

Norman Powell: Portland Trail Blazers guard speaks on emotional upcoming matchup with Toronto Raptors

Ahead of this season's trade deadline, the Toronto Raptors traded Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.

The No. 46 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Powell spent the first five-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Raptors. He helped the franchise win a championship in 2019 and played a big role in the team's success last season, averaging a career-best 16.0 points per game.

It's been an up-and-down season thus far for the Raptors, but Powell's play was one of the bright spots before he was traded.

MORE: Powell's best moments with the Raptors

Prior to his debut with the Trail Blazers on Friday, Powell was asked about what he's going to miss the most about Toronto.

"The thing I'm going to miss most, just the city," he responded.

"Toronto was the start of everything, truly embraced who I am as a player, all the memories, all the connection and relationships I created over my time there. The organisation, definitely going to miss that and the vibe, the fan base, playing in Scotiabank.

"Yeah, definitely going to miss the city and the fans and the organisation. Just the whole vibe of Toronto was amazing."

Powell went on to have a historic debut with the Trail Blazers. Starting in place of the injured Damian Lillard, he helped lead Portland to victory with 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field.

It made for the highest scoring midseason debut in franchise history.

Ironically, Powell's second game with Portland will come against his former team. Following their win over the Orlando Magic, the Trail Blazers will travel to Tampa to play the Raptors on Sunday, March 28.

"Definitely going to be a little weird," Powell said when asked about what it's going to be like playing the Raptors.

"I don't know. I feel like there's going to be a lot of emotions, seeing everybody, coaches and stuff still calling, texting me. I feel like it's going to be a little weird, but I'm going to be locked in and ready to go at them once the ball goes up.

"I don't have friends in this league when we're in between the lines. Talk to them before but once that ball goes up, they're opponents and I'm trying to get a win and help this team win.

"I'm ready to compete and go at them."

Sunday's matchup between the Raptors and Blazers starts at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted on SN One in Canada.

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