According to a person with knowledge of the Spurs forward’s situation, it’s the 31-year-old’s unhappiness in San Antonio that is the driving force behind the Spurs’ trade talks on Thursday. The five-time All-Star, according to the person, is hopeful that San Antonio can find a better fit for his talents.
April 21, 2021 | 9:01 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: Two more injury updates (unfortunately): The Raptors say Chris Boucher (left knee sprain) will not return against Brooklyn. The Wizards say Deni Avdija (right ankle injury) is out for the rest of the game against Golden State.
The Blazers had arranged for Powell to rent the vacant house of former player Kent Bazemore, located on the banks of Lake Oswego. And inside the home, Powell found it was stocked with all his favorite necessities, from a California King size bed and big screen TV, right down to the lavender-scented laundry detergent and Welch’s Berries-N-Cherries fruit snacks. The organization even arranged for a service to drive his two Pomeranian Huskies — Apollo and Odin — from Tampa to Portland. Waiting for them were dog beds filled with toys. “It was amazing,” Powell said. “And I mean, AMAZING. They went all out. They did everything you can think of to make sure that I’m comfortable.”
Much of the personal detail was made with Powell’s impending free agency this summer in mind. “We have a very brief time to make a strong and lasting impression on Norman,” said Neil Olshey, the Blazers’ president of basketball operations. “That doesn’t just mean on the basketball court, but also for life off the court for himself and his family.”
Not a day went by, it seemed, that Raymond wasn’t molding Norman through his actions or his words. Norman remembers pouting one day: he felt his mother didn’t live up to an agreement to give him a reward for completing a task. As he complained, Norman kept repeating “she owes me.” Raymond set him straight. “He told me, ‘Your mother doesn’t owe you anything. She gave you life and makes sure you have food on the table and your needs are met. She doesn’t owe you; you owe her everything,’” Norman recalls. “He always found different moments in my life to instill what my mindset should be.”
Mostly, though, Raymond sparked Norman’s love for basketball, and more importantly, the need to work at the craft. They watched Lakers games together, and when Norman began to separate himself as exceptional in youth basketball, Raymond gave him a nickname. “I remember always watching games with him, and he told me I would be one of those players who would be called upon to make big shots,” Norman said. “That’s where my nickname ‘Big Shot Powell’ came from. I think he got it from Chauncey Billups. But he’s the reason why I started playing basketball the way I did, the reason why I believed in myself that I could get to that (NBA) level.”
As Raymond underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Norman became one of his caregivers, walking to his home after school, or after basketball practice. He helped him into the shower. He coaxed him out of bed and encouraged him to move around. And as he watched Raymond’s body begin to wilt from the treatments, he looked for high protein meals. “He was like a nurse,” said Sharon, Norman’s mother and Raymond’s sister. “I was so proud of Norman stepping in and helping.”