Raptors deal Norman Powell to Portland Trail Blazers ahead of deadline
The Toronto Raptors have traded shooting guard Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Thursday.
Kyle Lowry, on his 35th birthday, woke up as a Toronto Raptor — and remained one.
On an NBA trade deadline day where moves were getting made right up until the last possible moment, Lowry — perhaps the biggest prize on the market — did not get traded, but teammate Norman Powell did.
There had been speculation about Lowry right up to the close of the deadline on Thursday.
In fact, Toronto entered the day expected to move either Lowry, Powell or both; in the end, it was just Powell, who went to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood. Those teams meet Sunday in Tampa, Fla., the Raptors’ home this season because the U.S.-Canadian border is closed due to the pandemic.
Powell is eligible to become a free agent after this season if he declines his player option.
Toronto has traded Norm Powell to Portland for Gary Trent and Rodney Hood, sources tell ESPN.
The guard has increased his scoring average every season since Toronto acquired his draft rights in 2015 after Milwaukee selected Powell in the second round. He is averaging 19.6 points per game this season and is shooting 49.8 per cent from the field.
Trent is a restricted free agent after this season and Hood’s deal for next season is not guaranteed. The 22-year-old Trent is third on the Blazers in scoring, averaging 15 points. The 28-year-old Hood is averaging 4.7.
Trent’s father, Gary Trent Sr., also was traded to Toronto from Portland in the Damon Stoudamire deal in 1998.
The Raptors (18-26) snapped a nine-game losing streak with a win over Denver on Wednesday. They are 11th in the Eastern Conference standings.
But Thursday’s biggest news was what the Raptors didn’t do.
Rumours swirled around Lowry right up to the deadline, and the Raptors made a few other moves that suggested they were opening up roster spots for a deal, trading Matt Thomas to Utah and Terence Davis to Sacramento for a future draft pick.
Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat were reportedly the top suitors for Lowry, but president Masai Ujiri apparently decided it wasn’t worth it to ship out the franchise cornerstone.
‘Everything will be fine’
Lowry had said Wednesday night that he had no preferable trade-day outcome. He planned to enjoy his birthday with his two sons on Thursday, and play a round of golf.
“Everything will be fine,” he had said. “Everything will be fine, no matter what happens.”
Cutting ties with Davis comes after a month after the New York District Attorney’s Office dismissed domestic assault charges against him.
Davis had faced several charges after he and his girlfriend allegedly got into a verbal dispute at a New York hotel on Oct. 27. The NBA is still investigating the matter.
With their roster set, the Raptors can focus on climbing back into a playoff spot. Their nine-game losing skid coincided with a COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined three starters for nearly three weeks.
The top six teams make the playoffs and teams ranked seventh through 10th advance to the play-in tournament.
Just six players now remain from Toronto’s 2019 championship roster — Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher and Patrick McCaw.
Lowry, a Philadelphia-born point guard, was acquired by the Raptors in a trade with Houston in 2012. He is the Raptors’ franchise leader in assists and is one of only three players in franchise history to score 10,000 points with the club.