Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press
A breakout season has made Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell an intriguing option ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst provided the latest buzz on SportsCenter:
“A name that has really emerged in the last few days as I talk to league executives: Norman Powell from Toronto, who is having a career season, averaging almost 20 points, shooting 45 percent from three-point range, had a 40-point game last week. About to be a free agent, the Raptors trying to decide what to do going forward this season and into the future, so Norman Powell could be a surprise name that could help a contender in a late deal this week.“
Powell is averaging a career-high 19.6 points per game while his 44.8 three-point percentage ranks ninth in the NBA.
It still hasn’t been enough to help the Raptors, who have lost seven in a row to fall to 17-24 and outside a projected playoff spot. This could put Toronto into sell mode for the first time in years.
Powell can become a free agent this offseason if he declines his $11.6 million player option, so a trade could at least return some assets.
Toronto could also keep him and figure out an extension in the offseason, but money could be tight with Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby already taking up much of the salary cap with long-term deals.
It could provide an opportunity for a contender to land a quality contributor for the stretch run this season.
Powell had mostly been a bench player for his first four seasons in the NBA, helping the Raptors win the NBA title in 2018-19 but only averaging 6.5 points in 15.9 minutes per game during the postseason run.
He made a much bigger impact in 2019-20, nearly doubling his scoring average to 16.0 points per game. A huge start to 2020-21 showed last year’s performance was no fluke, and the 27-year-old is only getting better.