The Toronto Raptors didn’t ship out the greatest Raptor of all-time Kyle Lowry, but they did do some business on deadline day.
The Raptors sent guard Norman Powell—who’s on an expiring contract—to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for guards Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood on Thursday afternoon.
It remains unclear if Powell will be able to suit up for Portland’s 8pm matchup against the Orlando Magic—who emptied their cupboards on deadline day, by the way—on Friday night but it would seem unlikely so soon after the deal was completed.
The Blazers will, however, be seeing the return of big man Jusuf Nurkic from a right wrist fracture that kept him out for two and a half months after the Bosnian tweeted out a confirmation of his availability for the game on Thursday.
“I don’t know if [Powell] will play, but I think he’s going to fit in really well with our team,” Portland head coach Terry Stotts said. “He defends, he’ll take on tough perimeter assignments, he’s a very good 3-point shooter, a good person. He’s been in big games in Toronto, he’s won a ring, so I think what he brings is going to be very welcome for us.”
The man Toronto fans called Playoff Powell is in the midst of a career explosion, putting up career-highs in points per game (19.6), triples per game (2.8), and three-point shooting rate (44 percent), often carrying the team as the Raptors dealt with a bevy of COVID-19 absences and injuries during this campaign.
The Blazers will take on the Magic on Friday night as -11.5 NBA point spread favorites at -109 NBA odds and are a good bet to put a whooping on the Magic even with a spread that big.
Powell was originally drafted out of UCLA by the Milwaukee Bucks, who dealt him to the Raptors on draft night in 2015. The Los Angeles native has averaged 9.9 points throughout his six seasons in Toronto, but his impact on the team was always intangible, his fire and energy will be missed by Toronto, its fans, and local eatery Osmow’s, for whom Powell was a reliable spokesperson for years.
Replacing the 27-year-old in Toronto will be the 22-year-old Trent, who was a revelation for the shorthanded Blazers in the bubble last year and kept up that strong play this year while CJ McCollum was out of the lineup. Trent has been putting up 15.0 points per game on a 41/40/77 shooting line in 41 appearances this season, 23 of which came as a starter.
Joining him north of the border—well, not really, since the Raptors are stuck in Tampa Bay playing at Amalie Arena and living in hotels for the entirety of the season—will be Hood, who’s a seasoned seven-year NBA vet.
He’s only managed 4.7 points per game in 38 appearances this season for the Blazers so it wasn’t much of a loss for Portland, but he’s been a solid scorer for most of his career, averaging 11.0 points on a 51/49/78 shooting line just last year.