Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors have a very peculiar trade deadline ahead of them. With players like Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell potentially coming off of the books next year, the temptation to trade away those pieces and start a rebuild is equally as realistic a possibility as trading away picks and looking to make a run.
Powell, who started off the season in poor fashion by struggling to connect from deep, has quickly become one of the Raptors’ most reliable scorers. Taking advantage of OG Anunoby’s absence, Powell has averaged 16.3 points per game this season, including 22.6 points on 50 percent shooting in his last 10 games.
Powell has a player option worth $11.6 million that he could pick up next season if he wants to return to Toronto. However, given how well he’s been playing, some team will likely give Powell a very lucrative contract if he hits the open market. This presents an interesting question Toronto will have to answer in the coming weeks.
Do they have enough confidence in Powell to pick up that option and return to Toronto? Or should they assume he’s gone and look to move him?
Norman Powell could leave the Raptors after six seasons
Powell will only be back with the Raptors if he is absolutely convinced that he will either not make $11.6 million per year on the open market (highly unlikely) or if he likes the idea of being a tertiary gunner on a team like Toronto that will consistently be in the playoffs. With players like Powell currently in demand, Ujiri shouldn’t hold his breath.
Powell might be a bit on the streaky side, and he might not be the best solution at the small forward position, but a player that can catch fire as quickly as he can while handling the ball and playing feisty defense will be looked at by any contender. Born in San Diego and a UCLA alum, Powell might tire of playing up north of the border.
Powell could opt out and take a look at contenders that could give him a much more lucrative package than Toronto could. Unless he’s been so seduced by Toronto’s culture that he chooses to stay, 2020-21 might be his final act in a Raptors uniform.