Many front offices around the NBA are skeptical that the Raptors will ultimately part ways with point guard Kyle Lowry due to a variety of factors, including his $30.5MM salary, but swingman Norman Powell is a “far different story,” writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
As Fischer notes, Powell is expected to decline his $11.6MM player option this offseason to reach unrestricted free agency. Executives around the league anticipate an annual salary of at least $20MM for Powell, says ESPN’s Zach Lowe, so if the Raptors are at all uncertain about giving him a substantial raise this summer, they’ll likely gauge his trade market this week.
One team capologist who spoke to Fischer said he believes there’s a 75% chance Powell will be dealt this week.
According to Fischer, sources have linked the Mavericks, Celtics, Timberwolves, Pistons, and Hawks to discussions for Powell, and the Cavaliers are believed to have asked for him in their Andre Drummond trade talks with Toronto, though there’s no indication those negotiations gained momentum.
The Knicks are also considered a possible suitor for Powell, with one team official referring to the high-scoring wing as a “perfect Tom Thibodeau player,” Fischer writes. New York still has over $15MM in cap room and could theoretically acquire Powell without including any outgoing salary.
Powell, 27, is in the midst of a career year, having averaged 19.6 points per game on .496/.444/.872 shooting in 40 contests (30.4 MPG). As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, only one other player – Zach LaVine – has both attempted more shots and has a higher true shooting percentage than Powell this season.
Noting that retaining Powell through the deadline and re-signing him would essentially lock the Raptors into a core of Powell, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby, Koreen contends that the time may be right to consider moving the 27-year-old to gain added financial flexibility, draft picks, and/or younger players.