Norman Powell

Blazers, Norman Powell Agree To Five-Year Deal

The Trail Blazers have struck a deal with their top free agent, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who hears from agent Thaddeus Foucher that Norman Powell has agreed to a five-year, $90MM contract to remain in Portland.

Ahead of the 2021 free agency period, Powell decided to not exercise his $11.6MM player option for the 2021/22 season, confident (and rightfully so) that, as one of the best wings on the free agent market, he was in line for a major raise.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports adds (via Twitter) that the fully-guaranteed deal has no player options for the conclusion of the contract.

Powell was selected by the Raptors with the No. 46 pick out of UCLA in the 2015 draft. He won a title with the team in 2019. After spending his entire career in Toronto, the 6’3″ swingman was shipped to Portland in a deadline deal during the 2020/21 season.

With both clubs, Powell averaged 18.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.2 SPG across 32.0 MPG on the year. Powell, 28, will remain a key contributor as the small forward for the Trail Blazers.

His positional height deficiencies on the wing are not out-of-place in Portland, where he will line up next to the similarly-undersized 6’3″ shooting guard CJ McCollum.

Luke Adams contributed to this report.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hollinger’s Latest: CP3, Knicks, Fournier, Bulls, Rose, Pacers, More

There was talk last week that the Pelicans would be a serious suitor for Chris Paul in free agency, but that chatter seems to have faded, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who says the veteran point guard is now widely expected to re-sign with the Suns.

As Hollinger explains, he heard the Suns’ initial offer to Paul when the two sides were discussing a possible extension was somewhat “underwhelming,” but the club now appears prepared to offer a more serious package. No one around the league will be surprised if the total value of Paul’s new deal gets up to $100MM or more, Hollinger adds.

Here are several more free agent rumors from Hollinger:

  • Amidst rumors that Evan Fournier‘s price tag may be too high for the Celtics‘ liking, Hollinger suggests that the Knicks may be the team preparing to make an aggressive offer to the free agent wing. Hollinger adds that it’s worth keeping an eye on Mitchell Robinson and the Knicks, since a renegotiate-and-extend deal is a possibility for the two sides. That sort of agreement would give Robinson a raise for 2021/22 and lock him up for multiple seasons.
  • If the Bulls don’t land Lonzo Ball, one of their backup plans may be offering Derrick Rose a deal in the neighborhood of $12MM per year, says Hollinger.
  • Hollinger’s sources expect T.J. McConnell to stick with the Pacers for a deal worth around – or slightly above – the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.9MM), but the competition for Doug McDermott will be fiercer and Indiana will face tax issues if the team wants to re-sign both players without trimming salary elsewhere.
  • If Richaun Holmes‘ presumed suitors – such as Charlotte and Toronto – end up using their cap room in other ways, he might be squeezed in free agency, allowing the Kings to re-sign him despite only holding his Early Bird rights. If that scenario plays out, Hollinger expects Holmes to sign a two-year deal with a player option so that he can hit the open market again in 2022 with full Bird rights.
  • There hasn’t been much free agent chatter surrounding Nuggets guard Will Barton or Trail Blazers Norman Powell, according to Hollinger, who writes that teams seems to be assuming those two players will remain with their respective clubs.
  • It has been tricky to figure out what the Spurs plan to do with their projected cap room, says Hollinger. Daniel Theis is the most prominent free agent target Hollinger has heard linked to San Antonio.

Blazers Rumors: McCollum, Simmons, Lillard, Powell, More

Teams are calling the Trail Blazers to inquire on guard CJ McCollum and offering the opportunity for Portland to move into the “top part of the draft,” according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. However, Quick reports that the Blazers aren’t seriously considering those offers, since they’re in win-now mode and are seeking veteran help rather than rookies.

As Quick details, the Blazers are open to a trade that would allow them to acquire an upgrade on McCollum. However, there are no obvious opportunities out there. A swap revolving around McCollum and Ben Simmons has long been the subject of speculation, but Quick suggests the Sixers likely wouldn’t be enticed by such a deal, even if Portland adds a young player like Anfernee Simons or Nassir Little to its offer.

Here’s more on the Blazers from Quick:

  • Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey has met twice with Damian Lillard since the season ended. They had a three-hour sitdown on June 19 at the team’s practice facility and then met in Las Vegas with new head coach Chauncey Billups last Friday, per Quick. During those meetings, Lillard conveyed his publicly-stated preference that the Blazers act with more urgency in upgrading their roster.
  • Despite Lillard’s call for urgency, it remains to be seen whether Portland will do anything drastic with its roster this summer. Quick says “there appears to be an inclination to run this group back again” in the hopes that Billups’ influence and a full season of Powell raise the Blazers’ ceiling. Quick acknowledges that exercising patience would be a risky approach, given Lillard’s unease, but points out there are some similarities to 2018, when the club made few roster changes after being swept in the first round and then reached the Western Finals in 2019.
  • Re-signing Norman Powell is the Blazers’ top priority in free agency. Billups recently met with Powell in Las Vegas and “communicated his vision” to the veteran swingman. The team hopes the hiring of Billups helps convince Powell to remain in Portland.
  • Olshey recognizes that building a bench led by Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter contributed to the team’s defensive shortcomings and will aim to add “long, rangy” players who can guard multiple positions and comfortably switch on defense, according to Quick.
  • The Blazers will likely try to buy a second-round pick in next Thursday’s draft, says Quick.

Celtics, Sixers, Lakers Interested In Reggie Bullock

Two Atlantic Division rivals are among the teams that may try to lure free agent swingman Reggie Bullock away from the Knicks, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

A source tells Berman that the Celtics and Sixers have expressed interest in Bullock, and the Lakers may also get involved. Bullock played alongside LeBron James in L.A. during the 2018/19 season.

Bullock prefers to stay in New York, Berman adds, but he’s hoping for a three-year contract worth in the neighborhood of the full mid-level exception ($9MM+). The Knicks have Early Bird rights on Bullock, so they can go above the cap to re-sign him after using their space. They’ll likely be able to offer up to about $10.3MM for the first year, according to Berman.

Bullock became a dependable contributor during his second year with the team, starting 64 of the 65 games he played and averaging 10.9 PPG per night while shooting 41% from three-point range. However, a disappointing playoff performance may have dragged down his value.

The Knicks have other options if they don’t re-sign Bullock, although they may be much more expensive, Berman adds. Coach Tom Thibodeau is a fan of Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell, who opted out of his contract Tuesday, and New York has also expressed interest in Warriors forward Kelly Oubre.

Berman suggests the Knicks might be willing to match a minimal offer to restricted free agent Frank Ntilikina if they lose Bullock. Ntilikina didn’t play much in Thibodeau’s first season with the team, but a source tells Berman that the Knicks haven’t ruled out a possible return.

Norman Powell To Decline Player Option

Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell will turn down his $11.6MM option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Powell had a July 22 deadline to decide on the option.

Portland plans to make re-signing Powell a top priority in free agency, sources tell Haynes, though multiple teams are expected to be interested.

The Blazers acquired Powell from the Raptors at the trade deadline, giving up Rodney Hood and Gary Trent Jr. in return. Although he was forced to play out of position at small forward, Powell was productive during his 27 games with Portland, averaging 17.0 points per night while shooting 44.3% from the field and 36.1% from three-point range.

The 28-year-old will be among the top guards on the market, Haynes adds. He is expected to receive a sizable raise and a multiyear deal wherever he ends up.

Powell is the third guard to decline a player option so far this offseason, joining Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets) and Will Barton (Nuggets).

As our player option decision tracker shows, another Blazer – Derrick Jones – will have to make a decision on his contract by next Wednesday. Jones, who is coming off an underwhelming first year in Portland, seems likely to opt into his $9.7MM salary.

Blazers Rumors: Dame, Stotts, Nurkic, Powell, Jones

In the wake of Thursday’s loss to Denver, which eliminated the Trail Blazers from the postseason, Portland players appeared to sense that major changes could be coming this offseason, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. Star point guard Damian Lillard suggested that the team would have to go “back to the drawing board” following its first-round exit.

“We didn’t win a championship, so obviously where we are now isn’t good enough,” Lillard said, noting that the Blazers couldn’t beat a Nuggets team that was missing starters Jamal Murray and Will Barton. “I don’t know what a shakeup looks like, or what changes will be made or could be made, but obviously as it is wasn’t good enough.”

As Quick writes, the future of head coach Terry Stotts will be one of the first issues the organization has to address. Stotts has one more guaranteed year on his contract, with a team option for 2022/23. However, multiple reports have indicated that Stotts is on the hot seat, and Portland’s showing in the playoffs likely didn’t help his cause.

According to Quick, the Blazers will go through exit interviews with players on Friday before making a call on Stotts, and may wait until next week to make their final decision. For his part, the Blazers’ head coach, who has led the team to eight straight playoff appearances, sounded prepared for any outcome.

“My job security? I’m under contract … I’m sure just like at the end of every year, we are all evaluated,” Stotts said. “The players, coaches, management, we are all evaluated. We will see what happens. At the end of the season, when you lose, everyone is evaluated. When we lost to New Orleans (in 2018), got swept by New Orleans, we were all evaluated. So we will see what happens.”

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • While he has long been committed to Portland, Lillard figures to draw plenty of leaguewide interest from teams curious to see if he’s becoming any more open to a change of scenery, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. So far, there’s no indication that Lillard’s commitment to the franchise is wavering.
  • Jusuf Nurkic didn’t sound certain about his future in Portland after Thursday’s loss. The veteran center’s $12MM salary for 2021/22 is only partially guaranteed for $4MM, but a source tells Quick the Blazers plan to guarantee the remainder. Still, Nurkic said he would’ve liked to play a bigger role, and was cryptic when asked if he wanted to return. “In the right situation, yes,” Nurkic replied, per ESPN’s Royce Young. Asked what the right situation was, Nurkic said, “We’ll see. I don’t know yet. Because this is not it.”
  • The Blazers face a tricky decision on Norman Powell, who could command up to $20MM per year in free agency, Quick writes for The Athletic. Portland has interest in re-signing Powell, but it may not be practical to invest heavily in another guard if Lillard and CJ McCollum are still on the roster, since the star duo will earn $70MM+ in 2021/22 (and even more than that in future seasons).
  • Powell’s future and that of Derrick Jones will likely be tied – at least in part – to whether or not Stotts returns, since his usage of both players was questionable, Quick says. Jones may not be able to match his $9.7MM player option salary on the open market, but it’s unlikely that he’d want to return to play for a coach that didn’t seem to value him, Quick observes.

Knicks Notes: Trade Deadline, Randle, Bullock, Vildoza

The Knicks didn’t make any significant upgrades at the trade deadline and it may be coming back to haunt them in their opening-round series against Atlanta, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. New York trails 3-1 in the series and there’s no hint of a comeback. Coach Tom Thibodeau was hoping for an upgrade, with Norman Powell high on his wish list, but management viewed this season as a stepping stone while protecting their ample cap space for a potential summer bonanza.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Julius Randle has yet to return to his regular-season form and now it may be too late, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News notes. Randle is shooting 27% from the field in the series after winning the league’s Most Improved Player award. “This is all a learning experience,” he said. “I need to get better individually, we need to get better as a team.”
  • Reggie Bullock went scoreless in 34 minutes during Game 4 and Thibodeau attributes that to Bullock guarding Trae Young, Steve Popper of Newsday relays. “We’re asking him to do a lot,” he said. “He’s in a lot of actions offensively, but he’s guarding Trae. You’re using a lot of energy there.” Bullock will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • Luca Vildoza is out of quarantine but didn’t join the team in Atlanta, Mark Berman of the New York Post tweets. The Knicks signed the Argentinian guard to a four-year deal in early May but, according to Thibodeau, he’ll be added to the mix next season. “For later in the summer,” he said.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Gobert, Malone, Trail Blazers

Mike Conley turned in a vintage performance Saturday night in his first road playoff game at Memphis, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. The veteran point guard made it a memorable homecoming with 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds as the Jazz pulled out a Game 3 victory.

Conley spent 12 years with the Grizzlies and was a fan favorite before being traded to Utah in 2019. This first-round series has him battling with second-year guard Ja Morant, who has become the new face of the franchise.

“It’s amazing to be playing against a guy like Ja, first off,” Conley said. “Just seeing a guy that’s so talented, he’s a young superstar in the league, wearing the jersey that I’m so used to wearing. Getting the cheers from the crowd that I’m so used to hearing. It’s surreal. It’s like full circle. You never thought that it would be this way. I never did, at least. It’s like sometimes you live long enough to become the villain, and I’ve become that for the Memphis Grizzlies now.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Rudy Gobert was thinking of Mark Eaton after Saturday’s win, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Eaton, a former Jazz center and shot-blocking specialist, died Friday at age 64. “I know that if he was here I would have got a text after the game saying, ‘Way to protect the paint, big guy,’” Gobert said.
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone called out his team — and especially his starters — after a lopsided loss to Portland in Saturday’s Game 4, writes Royce Young of ESPN. With a chance to go up 3-1 in the series, Denver came out flat and never seriously challenged the Trail Blazers. The Nuggets’ starting unit was outscored 49-26 when it was on the floor and shot 30% from the field while Portland was making 65% of its shots. “Our starters were awful,” Malone said. “I thought we had some guys that were tentative, that looked a little scared, who played soft … we’re going to have to be a lot better going home.” He later added, “I can’t believe we’re actually talking about playing hard in a playoff game. That should be a given.”
  • With the Trail Blazers’ season hanging in the balance, Jusuf Nurkic and Norman Powell both came into Saturday’s game with something to prove, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. Nurkic was upset over disparaging comments about his defense, while Powell wanted to show he could be the difference maker Portland expected when it acquired him at the trade deadline.

Free Agency Rumors: Holmes, Hardaway, Powell, More

Kings center Richaun Holmes is expected to be a sought-after free agent this offseason, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who spoke to a number of league personnel members about the 2021 FA class. Fischer’s sources suggested that a four-year, $80MM deal wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Holmes.

“I think everyone’s going to be chasing him,” one team analytics staffer told Bleacher Report.

The Kings figure to make an effort to re-sign Holmes. General manager Monte McNair referred to the big man today as “an integral part of the team,” as James Ham of NBC Sports California tweets. And Ham himself made the case that retaining Holmes should be Sacramento’s top priority.

However, since the Kings only have Holmes’ Early Bird rights and don’t project to have a huge chunk of cap room, their ability to make a competitive offer may be limited if his price gets anywhere near as high as Fischer’s sources believed it could. The Hornets and Mavericks are among the other teams expected to have interest in Holmes, according to Fischer.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • One personnel evaluator who spoke to Bleacher Report referred to Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. as “one of the best pure scorers in the league,” and won’t be surprised if he receives another lucrative multiyear deal now that his four-year, $71MM contract is set to expire.
  • That same personnel evaluator said he believes Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell can get $20MM annually in free agency, according to Fischer. “He’s just a guy that can play with anybody,” the evaluator said of Powell. “He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. He’s a good defender, he’s a great athlete, he gets to the rim. You can play him at the three, you can play him at the two. He’s a great character guy.”
  • Multiple league executives believe that Lakers guard Dennis Schröder is aiming to be paid like a top-tier point guard and that he’ll be prioritizing a starting role. The Knicks are among the teams mulling a run at him, sources tell Fischer.
  • League executives who spoke to Fischer identified Nets guard Bruce Brown, Knicks big man Nerlens Noel, and Lakers teammates Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker as some other under-the-radar free agents who could be in line for eight-digit annual salaries on their new deals.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Northwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Norman Powell, Trail Blazers, 27, SG/SF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2018

Powell was a popular name at the trade deadline as numerous teams pursued the high-scoring wing. Portland won the sweepstakes by giving up a solid young player in Gary Trent Jr., as well as Rodney Hood. Powell has an $11.6MM option on his contract for next season but he’s widely expected to decline it. He’ll be popular once again after the season, this time as an unrestricted free agent. He has struggled somewhat with his 3-point shooting since Toronto traded him but he’s still averaging 17.2 PPG with the Trail Blazers. His price tag will rise even more if he excels in the postseason.

Georges Niang, Jazz, 27, SF/PF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $5MM deal in 2018

The Jazz don’t ask Niang to score a whole lot – he’s mainly limited to a few 3-point opportunities per game – but he does all the little things necessary to retain a rotation spot on a team with the league’s best record. He’s appeared in every game this season, averaging 15.9 MPG. With several key teammates sidelined lately, Niang has stepped up his offensive production, scoring in the double-digits in eight of the last 12 games. An unrestricted free agent, Niang seems like a nice fit in Utah, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he stays put. If not, he’ll be valued as a reliable second-unit player.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Thunder, 23, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.6MM deal in 2018

Mykhailiuk had a golden opportunity to post some big numbers on a tanking team when the Pistons traded him to the Thunder. It would be unfair to say Mykhailiuk has flopped but he hasn’t really built up his value. He’s continued to struggle with his 3-point shot (32.2%), though he’s shown more willingness to drive to the basket and collected some steals on the defensive end. His qualifying offer is only $2MM, so there’s incentive for Oklahoma City to make him a restricted free agent. But Mykhailiuk probably won’t get an offer sheet, so he’ll either have to sign the QO or work out a contract with the Thunder.

Austin Rivers, Nuggets, 28, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $270K deal in 2021

Rivers basically found himself in exile in New York this season. Unable to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation, Rivers wound up being a throw-in at the trade deadline, then was promptly waived by Oklahoma City. Jamal Murray’s season-ending injury led to Denver offering him a 10-day contract and Rivers soon earned a rest-of-the-season deal. With Will Barton also sidelined by a hamstring injury, Rivers not only finds himself in the rotation but also in the starting lineup. He’s averaging 15.2 PPG over the last five games while draining 19 of 36 3-pointers. The postseason will give Rivers even more chances to attract interest in the free agent market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.