Norman Powell: can Raptors wait for return to form?

Toronto Raptors - C.J. McCollumn (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - C.J. McCollumn (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Norman Powell hasn’t pulled his weight this year, and he’s signed to a huge contract which kicks in next season. Do we have a problem, and is there a solution?

Norman Powell, swingman of the Toronto Raptors, has been one of the team’s few disappointing players. He started the first 12 games of 2017-18, then was injured. Since his return, he has failed not only to regain his job, he’s been bumped further and further down the depth chart almost to oblivion.

OG Anunoby twisted his ankle against Orlando, and was spotted in a walking boot. While he’s listed as “day to day”, one of those won’t be Sun-day against the Charlotte Hornets. Powell will presumably get the start at small forward, though even that assumption isn’t entirely safe. Malcolm Miller saw a few minutes of playing time in Q2 of Friday night’s win in Washington – could he somehow be given a chance?

Even to consider that possibility demonstrates how little faith the team currently has with Norman. He’s not included as a member of the bench bunch which has been destroying opponents’ second units, nor should he be. The last thing we want to see is coach Dwane Casey fiddling around with those guys. The starters certainly don’t get much credit for the sloppy win over the Wiz.


Powell’s wildly inconsistent, though mostly poor (28.9% from beyond the arc? blech), play in 2017-18 is cause for concern. He’s been signed to a sweet deal starting next season which will pay him about $ 30 million over three years with a healthy player option in the fourth. If his contributions have fallen off a cliff, and his coach doesn’t trust him, what is to be done?

Who handles an overpaid player?

He’s the President’s problem, not the coach’s. A player who’s making rookie-scale wages can be moved out of the rotation, or off the team entirely, without causing upheaval to the salary cap. Norman will be the fifth-highest paid Raptor, and you can’t have a player making big cake without playing. That what consistently failing teams do (hello, New York Knicks – how’s tricks with Joakim Noah?).

Here’s an off-the-wall notion: trade him straight up over the summer to Orlando for Terrence Ross. Hear me out. Jeff Weltman, who worked for Masai Ujiri before being lured to the Magic to take the top job, was the member of the Raptors brains trust most credited for acquiring Norman in the first place. TRoss started well in Orlando, but hasn’t played in months due to a serious knee injury. Why not swap problems?

Terrence’s contract expires after next season, so if he flops in his Toronto encore, the financial damage would be contained.

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I would never make a formal Trade Proposal for my readers’ consideration without being confident in the health of the player(s) coming to our team. So, until TRoss demonstrates he’s back at full strength, Powell for Ross is more of a pub conversation starter than a serious idea. But on the surface, it’s not totally crazy.

What do you think, Rapture Nation? Can Norman bounce back, or do we need, with regrets, to consider him a trade candidate? Share your thoughts in the Comments.