Potential Raptors target Eric Bledsoe traded for Norman Powell

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 31: Eric Bledsoe #12 of the LA Clippers dribbles by Dalano Banton #45 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 31: Eric Bledsoe #12 of the LA Clippers dribbles by Dalano Banton #45 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors traded Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. last season, and they appear to be looking for even more upgrades this year. Los Angeles Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe made sense, as he would be a veteran point guard that could come off of the bench.

One deal that would’ve made a ton of sense for both parties involves Toronto sending Goran Dragic to Los Angeles along with a future first-round pick in exchange for Bledsoe. Given the lack of bench firepower, Bledsoe would’ve helped stabilize the second unit.

Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers appear to have beaten Toronto to the finish line with regards to this hypothetical deal. Not only did they manage to acquire Bledsoe, but they sent away a player who had just signed a five-year, $90 million contract last offseason in order to make this deal a reality.

Portland traded Powell and Robert Covington to the Clippers, who are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference. Portland received Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, and 2021 first-round pick Keon Johnson in exchange for Powell, who is averaging 18.7 points per game this season.

Former Toronto Raptors SG Norman Powell was traded for Eric Bledsoe.

Powell is averaging 18.7 points per game and making 40% of his 3-pointers, so the quality shooting and offensive production Raptors fans came to expect from him over the years has translated over to the Blazers. However, Portland appears to be transitioning away from the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum era, which prompted the trade.

The Clippers, who already employ two former Raptors champions in Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka, seem to think that they can be a force in the West when everyone is healthy. This is a move made by a team that wants to create a three-headed monster of Leonard, Powell, and Paul George.

The Raptors can take solace in the fact that this makes the Trent deal even better. The Blazers traded for Powell and nearly gave him a nine-figure contract last offseason. However, they traded him away for one above-average veteran, a bench piece, a fizzling former first-rounder, and a future pick without completing a full season.

GTJ, meanwhile, is tearing it up with Toronto.

While Toronto did miss out on a quality trade option in Bledsoe, this deal does get Powell away from a Portland team in turmoil. Now the third option on a team that will feature Leonard and George when healthy, Powell might have a better chance to win in Los Angeles. Raptors fans can get behind Powell seeing success elsewhere.

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