Raptors take the first step, trading Norman Powell to the Trail Blazers

NBA Trade Rumors, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors

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The Raptors traded Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers to begin what should be a franchise-altering day Thursday.

It was not a secret that the Toronto Raptors entered Thursday openly looking to move both Norman Powell and Kyle Lowry. The news was more of an inevitability than a rumor.

The deals got going Thursday afternoon as Norman Powell is now heading out west to join the Portland Trail Blazers.

Raptors send Norman Powell to Trail Blazers

This is an interesting return for the Raptors. Rodney Hood has a non-guaranteed salary of $10.8 million next season and Gary Trent Jr. is a restricted free agent. This means the Raptors can move on from Hood right away and give the 22-year-old Trent a shot to see if he could be a long-term piece.

The focus from this trade, however, is Powell. The 27-year-old guard is averaging nearly 20 points per game this season and is a 43.9 percent shooter from 3-point range. He should fit in perfectly with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Carmelo Anthony as all four players can knock down shots from deep.

Powell has a player option worth $11.6 million for next season. Him picking that up would be a shock and the next step for Portland may be trying to work out an extension very soon.

The Blazers enter Thursday as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference standings. They have reached the postseason each of the past seven years with only one Conference Finals appearance in that span. Portland wants to win and acquiring Powell, even as a rental, gives them another elite shooter in what is a tight race out west.

Meanwhile, the Raptors are shifting to a younger core. Finally trading Lowry will officially signal the new era in Toronto now that Powell was moved first.

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