OCTOBER 8, 10:22pm: The extension has been finalized, according to a tweet from the Raptors.
OCTOBER 5, 12:54pm: The Raptors have reached an agreement on a contract extension with swingman Norman Powell, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Wojnarowski, the deal – which will go into effect for the 2018/19 season – will be worth $42MM over four years, and includes a player option for the final season.
Powell, 24, is entering his third year in the NBA, but wasn’t a first-round pick when he entered the league, which makes him eligible for a contract extension a year earlier than many of his fellow 2015 draftees.
For a player in Powell’s position, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement allows for an extension with a starting salary worth up to 120% of the estimated average salary, with subsequent 8% annual raises. It looks like that’s the deal he’ll get — Josh Richardson, another 2015 second-rounder, signed a similar extension with the Heat earlier in the offseason.
[RELATED: 2017 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]
A former UCLA standout, Powell took on a more significant role in his second season with the Raptors, averaging 8.4 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 76 regular season contests (18.0 MPG). Powell’s minutes increased following the February trade of Terrence Ross, and he was a key contributor in the postseason, upping his averages to 11.7 PPG and 3.1 RPG to go along with a .441 3PT% in nine playoff games.
With P.J. Tucker, DeMarre Carroll, and Cory Joseph among the offseason departures for the Raptors, Powell figures to become an even more crucial part of the club’s rotation going forward, giving him a chance to enjoy a breakout season in 2017/18. According to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), the Raps were concerned about being unable to afford Powell as a restricted free agent next summer and even quietly shopped him around prior to the draft — the team is likely thrilled to lock him up at a price just above the mid-level exception.
While the Raptors secured Powell at a fair price, the franchise will now have to worry about luxury tax payments in future seasons. Assuming Toronto picks up its 2018/19 options on Jakob Poeltl, Delon Wright, and Pascal Siakam, the team was already projected to have more than $115MM in guaranteed salary on its ’18/19 cap even before the Powell extension. Powell’s deal will add another $10MM to that total, pushing the Raps over the projected tax threshold.
If staying out of the tax – or even just creating more cap flexibility – is important to the Raptors, Masai Ujiri and the front office may push to eventually find a taker for Jonas Valanciunas, who is set to earn $16.5MM+ in 2018/19.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.