The Toronto Raptors may have found a trade suitor for Norman Powell sooner than we might’ve expected.
It does feel like a Norman Powell trade is inevitable. He has a player option he will most likely refuse next season and the Toronto Raptors would be smart to cash in on him as soon as possible.
Powell is a shooting guard that gets hot as much as he gets cold, and is best served in the “Lou Williams” role; except Powell is nowhere near the liability Lou is on the defensive side. Powell is the type of player that can also be plugged in as a starter. He’s an okay defender, a good shooter off the catch, and gets to the free-throw line. Powell’s a real luxury to have on the bench if you’re a contender.
The Raptors have a surplus of guards and will most likely try to keep the financial flexibility they’ve built for the 2021 free agency. Rather than committing to him on a large contract or losing him in free agency for nothing, getting assets in return for him while they still can has to be a top priority for the Toronto Raptors.
The Portland Trailblazers are perfect suitors for Norman Powell
One team that can use Powell’s services more than any other team are the Portland Trailblazers. Even before the CJ McCollum injury, I believed that Powell was perfect for the Blazers with the lack of depth they have at the guard position — the team has only 4 guards on their team; one of them being the young Anfernee Simons who plays only 10 minutes a game.
But with McCollum out for four weeks in a season where every game counts more than usual, it has created the perfect storm for the Raptors to try and make a move with them sooner rather than later.
Here’s the trade that’ll also involve the Kings:
The Trailblazers are in win-now mode and losing a player like Collins is the type of moves contending teams have to make, no matter how much they like his potential.
Portland will receive a versatile offensive threat who can play on and off-ball in Powell. He’ll fit right in as a starter (or at the very least playing 25-30 minutes a game) with McCollum out and help them compete for a top-four seed in the Western Conference. And when McCollum returns, they’ll have the luxury of resting their two stars a little more; a luxury they’ve never had in the past.
Convincing the Kings is the toughest part
The trickiest part here has to be the Sacramento Kings. They get to exchange Marvin Bagley, a player who has been struggling and living under Luka Doncic’s shadow, for Zach Collins, Nasir little, and a Raptors second-pick this season. Zach Collins being injured as frequently as he is can be a factor the Kings would be reluctant to even consider the deal.
They’ve already dealt with an abundance of Bagley injuries and all they might want is a player that’ll just be healthy for once. There might need to be more sweeteners added for the Kings, but Bagley’s value is at an all-time low and he has shown no signs that merit a higher worth. It is also worth noting that Bagley is former General Manager Vlade Divac’s guy. He believed in Bagley and still thinks he’ll pan out as a great player in the league when he picked him over Luka Doncic. With Divac stepping down as general manager in the summer, no ties are holding Bagley back.
In Zach Collins, they’d get a player who is more effective off-ball, can stretch the floor, play solid defense, and fit right in with what the Kings need on their high-pace team. The only concern with Zach Collins is the injury concern.
Why the Toronto Raptors would want to take a gamble on Bagley
Marvin Bagley III will join a team that has the best development program in the league in the Toronto Raptors. If Bagley was ever going to live up to his second overall selection in the 2018 draft, it’d be with the Toronto Raptors. Bagley will be turning 22 and has shown some upside in his three years so far. (Also, the Raptors need a center of any shape, form, or size. Boucher needs help.)
His horrid shot selection would be one thing that’d be fixed almost immediately under Nick Nurse. Bagley almost shoots as much long mid-range as he does at the rim, both near 40 percent. He is also a capable three-point shooter that doesn’t shoot nearly enough threes. The improved shot selection alone would make him that much better and effective on offense.
On defense, Bagley will finally be part of a team that prides itself on defense. Playing under a coach in Nick Nurse will certainly light a fire under Bagley’s a** to play the hardest defense of his life. He has the body and athleticism to guard and switch onto any player, and there should be no reason that Bagley isn’t at least a good defender moving forward.
While he improves at the fundamentals as mentioned above and gains Nurse’s trust, only then would Bagley have a larger role on the team and possibly have a few offensive possessions to himself; possessions that will more than likely be posts-ups.
Bagley may not ever live up to what he was supposed to be and the Raptors may not offer him a contract when he becomes a restricted free agent in two years; however, having two years of Bagley at the price of Norman Powell and some secondary draft capital is a gamble worth taking.
There’s too much untapped potential in Bagley, and it feels like that’ll never be unleashed until he’s out of Sacramento. It does feel like a win-win-win for all three teams involved, then again that entirely depends on how much you value Bagley.