Raptors keep Kyle, ship Powell in deal for Trent Jr. and Hood

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Also deal sharp-shooter Thomas for Golden State second round pick

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The first Raptors domino to drop on trade deadline day was not the expected Kyle Lowry move but a trade involving Norman Powell.

As it turned out, Lowry didn’t wind up moving at all, which was really the bigger surprise.

Right up to the 3 p.m. deadline, the Raptors were sending out all kinds of signals that a Lowry trade was imminent right down to clearing two roster spots by sending first Matt Thomas to Utah and then Terence Davis to Sacramento for second-round picks in separate deals.

But just after 3 p.m. and with trades still trickling in, word came from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Raptors were, in fact, keeping Lowry through this deadline.

It’s a move that is bound to split the fanbase. There are those who were more than willing to let it ride with Lowry and if he isn’t back after his contract expires this summer and the team doesn’t get any return on him, they are fine with it.

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There’s another segment of the fanbase that will never understand the sentiment of holding onto a guy, even one as instrumental to their greatest successes, and losing him for nothing.

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What we’ll probably never know, unless someone cracks the vault in the ultra-secretive Raptors front office, is what they left on the table.

There were suggestions the Sixers, the Heat and the Lakers were in talks right down to the final minute. The Sixers seemed to bail first, opting for the less-expensive option in George Hill, though there were suggestions the Sixers remained interested even after the Hill acquisition. The Heat were the next to go, shifting gears and grabbing Victor Oladipo from Houston right before the deadline for a package that included Canadian Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley and a pick swap.

If that was all the Heat were offering up for Lowry, that would be an easy no, but again, if you believe the rumoured trades, three-point specialist Duncan Robinson was at least part of the conversation.

Either way, the Raptors didn’t feel they were getting value for Lowry in any of the proposed deals and they pushed back from the table.

Gary Trent Jr. and Norman Powell are trading places, thanks to a deal between Portland and Toronto on Thursday.
Gary Trent Jr. and Norman Powell are trading places, thanks to a deal between Portland and Toronto on Thursday. Photo by Soobum Im /USA Today Sun

If he does sign elsewhere this summer, the Raptors will open up all kinds of cap space to go after his replacement.

There’s even the chance that they bring him back and this whole dance is done again at next year’s trade deadline.

Most will agree that when the day comes that Lowry does leave, whether that is this summer, trade deadline next year, next summer or whenever, he will leave as the greatest Raptor to ever wear the uniform.

But the big move that was made Thursday will encourage similar debate, as well, as Powell, a career-long Raptor, was moved west to Portland.

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The return was guard/forward Gary Trent and Rodney Hood.

This is, in fact, the second time the Raptors organization has obtained a Gary Trent in a deal with Portland, the first coming 23 years ago when Gary Trent Sr., father to the incoming Trail Blazer, was acquired as part of the Damon Stoudamire deal.

Trent Jr. is basically a cheaper, younger version of Norm Powell without the handle.

But at 22, there is still a lot of upside there and, on the final year of his rookie deal at $1.663 million, he’ll be in store for a modest raise next season but nothing remotely close to the $20-plus million Powell is going to command.

Hood’s deal, paying him just more than $10 million, has a year left on it, but it’s not guaranteed, giving the Raptors flexibility going forward.

Trent’s stock really took off in the absence of the injured CJ McCollum. Playing alongside Damian Lillard for 23 starts, Trent shot just under 40% from three, 41.7% from the field, averaged 18 points a night.

Overall, for the season Trent averaged 15 points over 41 games.

Hood is 28 years old and in just under 20 minutes a night put up 4.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists.

Neither Thomas nor Davis, the other two Raptors moved on trade deadline day, seemed to be top bench options for Nick Nurse’s. Thomas, a sharpshooter in his own right, just can’t find that defensive bent necessary to play in Nurse’s rotation.

For Davis, the reasons are less straight forward.

As athletic and as much of a scoring threat as Davis can be and was in his rookie year, there are moments where he just loses all scope of the game plan. Then, of course, there is the off-season charge of domestic abuse that accompanies him whenever his name is mentioned. Whether that played a factor in this move, only the Raptors know.

Five of the seven charges from the incident have since been dismissed. A league investigation into the charges is apparently still ongoing. The Raptors have cited this when asked to comment on the charges.

mganter@postmedia.com

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