Norman Powell

Western Notes: Towns, Powell, Paschall, Hall, Roby

Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns acknowledged that the time to chase stats is over, re-affirming that his only focus is helping Minnesota win in a turbulent season, Dane Moore of Blue Wire Podcasts tweets.

Towns recently put forth a 30-point, 16-rebound performance in a loss to the Grizzlies on Friday, following it up with a 39-point, 14-rebound outing in a loss to the Sixers on Saturday. The Timberwolves are just 12-38 and have dealt with significant injuries and COVID-19 issues throughout the season.

“I’ve had the time to mess up and I guess you could say ‘chase stats.’ That s–t is over,” Towns said. “I’ve proved myself in this league. I truly believe that. I don’t have to prove myself anymore. But now what I have to prove is: can I win? I think that’s the next step. 

“I have to do whatever it takes. I look at the stat sheet, ‘Oh, it’s great, it’s wonderful, 30 and 16’. But we lost. I don’t give a s–t then. At the end of the day, the word on me is still gonna be the word. There’s only one way to change the narrative, and that’s to go beat the narrative.”

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell is adjusting quickly in Portland, Casey Holdahl of NBA.com writes. Powell was recently traded to Portland from Toronto and has proven to be effective in his limited time, scoring 15 points in the team’s win over the Thunder on Saturday. “I feel good, I feel like the transition has been really easy,” Powell said. “The coaches, the guys have made it real easy to fit in. I feel like the more time I spend with them, the more practices we get in, the more games, I’ll start to feel better with the chemistry, the flow of the game, the play-calling and rotations on defense. I’m liking it so far.”
  • Warriors forward Eric Paschall will miss at least two weeks after undergoing an MRI on Saturday that revealed a left hip flexor strain, the team announced (Twitter link). Paschall, 24, is averaging 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 17.3 minutes per game this season.
  • The Thunder have released medical updates on Josh Hall and Isaiah Roby, announcing that both players sustained concussions in the team’s game against Portland. They’ll now join second-year player Luguentz Dort in the league’s concussion protocol.

Atlantic Notes: Aldridge, Ujiri, Fournier, Powell

The Nets just added former seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge to their gallery of decorated vets, prompting Alex Schiffer of The Athletic to examine how the power forward/center can fit on such a deep roster — especially one with a suddenly-crowded frontcourt. Aldridge figures to serve as a floor-stretching small ball center and a competent defender around the basket.

Meanwhile, Kevin Pelton of ESPN details why Aldridge may not be such a smooth fit on a club that may struggle to parse out minutes effectively among veterans like Aldridge, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, plus ascendant young big man Nicolas Claxton and even switchable forwards Kevin Durant and Joe Harris.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors team president Masai Ujiri has made plenty of incredible moves during his tenure with the club, but his failure to improve the team’s center rotation this season has to be considered one of his biggest oversights, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. After losing big men Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol to star-studded Los Angeles teams in the 2020 offseason, Ujiri signed Aron Baynes and Alex Len as their primary replacements. The Raptors cut Len in January (he has since proved productive in a limited role with the Wizards), and have had trouble scoring with Baynes on the floor.
  • Ahead of his arrival in Boston, new Celtics shooting guard Evan Fournier had a false positive COVID-19 test, according to Tom Westerholm of Boston.com. An unrestricted free agent this summer, Fournier has remained relatively mum when it comes to addressing his future with the Celtics. “My focus right now is just to learn the plays, learn how to play with my teammate[s], and win games,” Fournier said. ” I like to stay in the present, stay in the moment.” Fournier is currently on an expiring $17.5MM contract.
  • Trail Blazers shooting guard Norman Powell, a longtime Raptors fixture, penned an emotional goodbye to Toronto in the Players’ Tribune. “I kept it together for a while,” Powell said of hearing about the deal. “And then I saw Jama Mahlalela. Jama is one of our assistant coaches, and he was also my very first coach when I got to Toronto. He’s known me literally since Summer League, and I’ve spent a lot of time working with him super closely. And he came in to give me a hug, and, man … I just heard it in his voice… and that was it. After that, it was a wrap. It was straight-up waterworks. I started breaking down crying … all the memories that I’d been holding back for those last couple of days, they came rushing back in.”

Northwest Notes: M. Brown, Muscala, Blazers, Beasley, Nuggets

Moses Brown‘s new contract with the Thunder is a four-year deal worth $6.8MM, according to Royce Young of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that the second and third years are non-guaranteed. There’s a fourth-year team option for 2023/24, Young adds.

If Brown keeps playing like he has in his last four games (14.3 PPG, 16.8 RPG), that deal could wind up being a major bargain for the Thunder. However, one aspect of it is relatively player-friendly — as Bobby Marks of ESPN observes (via Twitter), Brown’s rest-of-season salary of $1.25MM is about $750K than he would have earned if he received the prorated minimum.

Because Oklahoma City remains about $4MM below the minimum salary floor, per Marks, there was no reason for the team not to go above the 2020/21 minimum for Brown. The Thunder’s cap situation also provides little incentive to try to save money by buying out any of their current veterans, so it makes sense that Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman is reporting that a buyout with Mike Muscala is “unlikely to happen.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • After trading for Norman Powell at last week’s trade deadline, Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey told Jason Quick of The Athletic that the team had to “shake things up” since “things were starting to look stale.” According to Quick, Portland – with two open roster spots after the trade – will likely peruse the buyout market in search of another wing or guard who could play back-of-the-rotation minutes.
  • Having completed the 12-game suspension he received following his February legal sentencing, Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley said he thinks he’s in a better place. “I feel like my life is where it needs to be,” Beasley said, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. “I got a chance to work on myself on and off the court. I learned from my mistakes, and I’m ready to move on for it.”
  • After making his Nuggets debut in a blowout win over Atlanta on Sunday, Aaron Gordon liked what he saw, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details. “I see no limits for this team,” Denver’s newest forward said. “It looks like we have all the pieces that we need. We have the depth. It’s like we are covered in a lot of different spots offensively, defensively. As long as we are all working together, there’s no stopping us.”

Trail Blazers Acquire Norman Powell From Raptors

5:07pm: The trade sending Powell to Portland is official, according to a team press release. Raptors team president Masai Ujiri lauded Powell’s contributions to Toronto in a statement.

“Norman accomplished so much with the Raptors,” Ujiri said in part. “Norman is an NBA Champion, and he has earned his place as one of the great success stories in franchise history.”


11:52am: The Raptors will send Norman Powell to the Trail Blazers in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Portland won the bidding war for Powell, who is expected to turn down an $11.6MM player option for next season and become a free agent. He will add another scoring option to a Blazers team that already has Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in the backcourt.

It was reported that roughly half the league had called Toronto to inquire about Powell, who is having a career-best season at 19.5 PPG.

The Raptors opted for financial flexibility in the deal. Hood, 28, has a $10.86MM contract for next season that is non-guaranteed until June 23. Hood’s playing time has dropped off sharply this season and he’s shooting just 29.8% from beyond the arc.

Trent is making $1.66MM and will be a restricted free agent this summer if Toronto makes a $2.12MM qualifying offer. The third-year swingman became a part-time starter this season and is averaging a career-high 15.0 PPG. He has knocked down 40.7% of his three-point attempts over the last two seasons.

Since the Raptors will have the right to match any offer Trent receives, the team should have an easier time retaining him than it would have with Powell, who will be unrestricted. Trent’s cap hold will also be just $2.12MM, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), allowing the Raptors to open up more cap room.

Portland generates a $1.7MM trade exception in the deal, tweets Marks. Bird rights will accompany Powell and Trent, so their new teams can go over the cap to re-sign them.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jusuf Nurkic Ready To Return On Friday

The Trail Blazers made a splash on Thursday by agreeing to acquire Norman Powell from the Raptors. They’ll also add another key piece in-house, as center Jusuf Nurkic is ready to return from a lengthy absence. The big man tweets he’ll be in the lineup against the Magic on Friday.

Nurkic underwent surgery on January 19 to repair a fracture in his right wrist. He suffered his latest major injury against the Pacers while attempting to block a shot. He was cleared to play this week.

The 6’11” Nurkic missed nearly the entire 2019/20 season due to a major leg injury suffered late in the previous season. He’s averaging 9.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 2.8 APG in 12 games (23.3 MPG) this season. He enjoyed a career year, averaged 15.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG and 3.2 APG, in 2018/19 before fracturing his left leg.

Nurkic has a partially guaranteed base salary of $12MM next season. He’s guaranteed $4MM and the Trail Blazers will have to decide whether to give him a full guarantee this summer.

Enes Kanter, who is averaging 12.1 PPG and 11.6 RPG, will return to a second-unit role with Nurkic back in action.

Lakers, Heat, Sixers Remain Engaged In Kyle Lowry Talks

The Raptors remain “seriously” engaged with the Lakers, Heat, and Sixers in trade discussions involving point guard Kyle Lowry, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Miami and Philadelphia have long been mentioned as suitors for the veteran guard, but the Lakers are a more recent addition to the Lowry sweepstakes. Charania’s report comes on the heels of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggesting on Wednesday that the Lakers are a team to watch on the Lowry front.

While the NBA’s two biggest national news-breakers have the Lakers in the mix for Lowry, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst expressed some skepticism today on First Take this morning, suggesting that the Lakers rumors may be a smokescreen to get the Heat and 76ers to improve their offers, as RealGM relays. Windhorst also said that, as of Wednesday, the Raptors hadn’t been all that impressed by the offers on the table for the six-time All-Star.

“They’re basically negotiating with only two teams, with Miami and Philadelphia,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “From what I can glean from people I’ve talked to, neither one of them are putting the premium, premium package they can offer for Kyle Lowry and that’s frustrated the Raptors a little bit.”

Of course, while the Raptors may feel as if they’re being low-balled, that’s a matter of perspective. League sources who spoke to Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link) said Toronto’s asking prices for Lowry and Norman Powell are “huge.” Since those two Raptors vets are considered two of the top options on the trade market, the market may not really get moving until there’s resolution on one or both of them, Schultz explains.

Raptors Notes: Lowry, Powell, Siakam, Nurse

After helping the Raptors snap their nine-game losing streak on Wednesday with a blowout win over Denver, veteran point guard Kyle Lowry admitted that it was a “weird” feeling not knowing if it was his last game with the franchise, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. Lowry is prepared for the possibility of being traded later today, on his 35th birthday.

“Whatever will be will be, honestly,” Lowry said, per Lewenberg. “That’s the truth.

“I don’t know (what I want to happen). I wish I could give you (an answer), but at the end of the day, I’m gonna (make) a decision and work it out and if something happens, it happens — if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Everything happens for a reason. I personally, right now, I don’t really put too much thought into it. My agent is really good at his job and (is having) a lot of decisions, he’ll look at it and help facilitate that decision.”

According to Lewenberg, the odds of Lowry being traded seemed slim earlier this month. Sources tell TSN.ca that the Raptors were still telling teams last week that they didn’t intend to move him and that Lowry and his reps expected to finish the season with the club. That has changed in recent days, as Toronto has become more willing to listen to inquiries and offers for the six-time All-Star, who could be the biggest name on the move in the next seven hours.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Norman Powell, the Raptors’ other top trade candidate, said that his preference would be to remain with Toronto, but he acknowledged that anything could happen, as Lewenberg relays. “My roots are here,” Powell said. “I’ve given everything to the franchise. Obviously I want to stay here. I’m not out looking for other teams to go play for. I’m solely focused on this season, being with the team and hopefully being able to finish out the season with them. But I understand that it’s a business.” Lewenberg and other reporters have suggested that Powell is very likely to be dealt today.
  • Appearing on ESPN’s Bart & Hahn Show (video link), Brian Windhorst said he believes the Raptors will essentially control the trade deadline, since Lowry and Powell are two of the top players available. Teams chasing one or both of those two may want resolution before moving onto other targets.
  • The Raptors’ dominant win over Denver on Wednesday showed how much upside the current group still has, but it was probably too little, too late to change the team’s approach to the deadline, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic.
  • Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca provided some additional details on the confrontation between Pascal Siakam and head coach Nick Nurse that may result in a $50K fine for the Raptors forward. Grange describes Siakam’s outburst toward Nurse as one that crossed lines and included “words beyond standard cursing.” However, there’s no indication that it will lead to anything drastic involving Siakam at the trade deadline, Grange notes.
  • The Raptors denied a report that Siakam had been fined $50K, saying possible discipline was still being discussed internally. But since those team penalties aren’t made public, we may never know for sure whether or not Toronto fines Siakam, according to Grange, who says the club has concerns about the way the report on that fine and another recent Shams Charania report – which blamed a COVID-19 outbreak on the coaching staff not following proper masking guidelines – have surfaced.

Trade Rumors: Powell, Drummond, McGee, Knicks

The Rockets are among the teams having discussions with the Raptors about shooting guard Norman Powell, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Citing someone with knowledge of the talks, Feigen reports that Houston is examining deals that would involve multiple teams and players.

Powell could provide a boost to the Rockets’ rebuilding project if they can sign him to a long-term deal. He is expected to turn down an $11.6MM player option and test the free agency waters this summer. The 27-year-old is in the middle of his best season, averaging 19.5 points per game and shooting 43.5% from 3-point range.

Powell is among the most popular names on this year’s trade market, with teams expressing interest in him numbering “in the teens,” tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

There’s more trade news to pass along:

  • The chances that the Cavaliers will find a taker for Andre Drummond are “50-50,” a source tells Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Cleveland is hoping to get at least a draft pick in return and is willing to wait all the way to Thursday’s deadline at 3pm Eastern to get a deal done, Fedor adds. Drummond hasn’t played since February 12, when the team decided to keep him out of action while it searched for a trade.
  • Cavaliers teammate JaVale McGee is drawing interest from several contenders, including at least one in the Eastern Conference, Fedor notes in the same story. Cleveland is seeking just a second-round pick in return for McGee, according to Fedor, and has no plans to buy him out if he’s not traded. At age 33, McGee has been through this experience before. “It’s definitely hard when you’re in the trade talks as a younger player I feel like, but as an older player, as myself, I’ve been in trade talks plenty of years and plenty of times,” he said. “I’ve figured out how to block it out, play my game and focus on what I have to do. If something happens at the trade deadline, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You really never know.”
  • The Knicks have become a “serious potential destination” for Drummond, tweets Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report points out that because New York has roughly $15MM in cap room, the team would only have to send about $14MM to Cleveland in exchange for Drummond (via Twitter).

Trade Rumors: Powell, Knicks, Nets, Pacers, Gordon

The Pacers may be the team to watch in the competition for Raptors shooting guard Norman Powell, no matter what happens by Thursday’s trade deadline, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. League sources tell Berman that Indiana is willing to outbid the field for Powell in free agency, even if it means overpaying.

The Knicks also have interest in Powell, Berman adds, but just as with Rockets guard Victor Oladipo, they’re reluctant to part with first-round picks and would want some assurance that he would re-sign before making a move.

New York’s front office believes the team has exceeded expectations this season and is confident that it can at least wind up in a play-in game with the current roster. Berman cites a feeling around the league that the Knicks will wait until the offseason for any major moves.

There’s more on the trade front:

  • The Knicks will have interest in signing Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball this summer, Berman adds in the same story. New Orleans is considering whether to trade Ball now instead of possibly losing him in free agency. If New York reaches a buyout with Austin Rivers, J.J. Redick will be a candidate to take his place on the roster, assuming that he’s bought out as well, but the Knicks would face competition from the Nets and other teams for Redick.
  • A source tells Berman that the Pacers haven’t put Malcolm Brogdon or Myles Turner on the trade market. A report Tuesday said Indiana was listening to offers for Brogdon.
  • The Nets are interested in Cavaliers centers Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, but it’s not clear if Brooklyn will wait for a buyout or try to make a trade.
  • The Timberwolves are among the teams still pursuing Magic forward Aaron Gordon, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Stein confirms a report that Minnesota and Orlando had serious discussions about Gordon in January before he injured his ankle.

Woj’s Latest: Drummond, Aldridge, Blazers, Oladipo, Redick, Hornets

If Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge receive buyouts rather than being traded, the Lakers and Heat are widely viewed as the respective frontrunners to sign them. Adrian Wojnarowski essentially confirmed that point during today’s Woj & Lowe Trade Deadline Special on ESPN, though he noted that both big men would have plenty of options on the buyout market.

The Nets, Clippers, Celtics, and Mavericks would have interest in Drummond, according to Wojnarowski. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said he expects the Hornets to pursue Aldridge if he hits waivers.

The ability to compete for a championship would be a top priority for both veteran bigs, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links), who hears that a championship ring would be “the driving force” for Aldridge. As for Drummond, while the Mavs would have interest, they expect he’d hunt for a ring with Brooklyn or one of the L.A. teams, says Townsend.

Here are a few more notable tidbits from the Woj & Lowe Trade Deadline Special that aired on ESPN this afternoon:

  • The Trail Blazers have been “very active” in trade discussions, according to Wojnarowski, who pointed to Norman Powell and Victor Oladipo as players who could appeal to Portland.
  • Wojnarowski gets the sense that the Rockets will be able to land a mid first-round pick in exchange for Oladipo. However, Woj downplayed New York’s interest in the veteran guard: “I don’t sense the interest in a future partnership with Oladipo is significant with the Knicks.”
  • The Jazz could be a dark-horse suitor for Pelicans guard J.J. Redick in the event of a buyout, says Wojnarowski. Still, the Nets are viewed as the probable frontrunner in that scenario, since Redick’s family is based in Brooklyn. “Geography may play a big part in this,” Woj said.
  • The Hornets had been scouring the market for a frontcourt upgrade, but may “retreat” a little following LaMelo Ball‘s wrist injury, per Wojnarowski.