The Blazers’ top free agent priority is re-signing Norman Powell, whom they acquired at last season’s trade deadline. The emphasis on retaining Powell comes from data that shows the starting lineup of Lillard, McCollum, Powell, Covington and Jusuf Nurkic last season had the NBA’s fourth-best net rating among starters, behind Brooklyn, the Clippers and Philadelphia.
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Yet this is the time of year for the front office to go shopping with its cap space. It’s known Thibodeau has a yen for former Raptors/Blazers shooting guard Norman Powell, who as expected opted out of his contract. He’ll be seeking a deal close to $20 million per — as will another wing on the Knicks radar, Kelly Oubre.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell told Yahoo Sports that he will decline his player option for the 2021-22 season and become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 1. The player option is worth $11.6 million and he is expected to receive a considerable raise and a multi-year deal this summer.
Thibodeau also covets Trail Blazers swingman Norman Powell, who has an $11.6 million player option in 2021-22, sources said. And there are many Lonzo Ball supporters within the Knicks’ front office who will likely lobby to sign New Orleans’ point guard to an offer sheet.
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.”
In the same vein as Houston’s Victor Oladipo, the Knicks don’t wish to give up first-round picks for the 27-year-old Powell as a rental and would prefer assurances he would re-sign if they make a move. However, league sources contend the Pacers are willing to overpay Powell in free agency and perhaps outbid the field.
If they don’t, why wouldn’t Philly turn its attention to Powell? Powell is a borderline lock to decline his $11 million player option for next season, raising a pressing dilemma for the Raptors. Powell is going to get capital-P paid; executives expect a $20 million annual salary.
Do the Raptors want to pay him — making him their fourth high-salaried player going forward? Maybe. They could always try to sign-and-trade him, but that requires Powell’s cooperation. Powell is not a playmaker/organizer like Lowry, and maybe that is the skill set Philly craves given Ben Simmons’ limitations in crunch time. He’s a worse defender than both Lowry and Green. But Powell is clearly reaching a new level as a scorer. His Bird rights have real value.
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July 30, 2021 | 9:44 pm EDT Update
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