The Portland Trail Blazers have made a move at the deadline, trading Gary Trent Jr and Rodney Hood to the Toronto Raptors for Norman Powell.
With the Blazers’ defensive struggles and their massive pending salary bill, they have sent out two players for one in a deal that partly fixes two problems.
Portland Trail Blazers: Grading the Gary Trent Jr – Norman Powell trade
The Blazers’ main issue this season, has been a porous defense that ranks around 27th in the league at the deadline. By moving poor defender Hood, and the younger Trent, they have strengthened their defense.
Trent is a good defender, but because of his lighter frame and developing IQ, he is an inferior defender to Powell.
Powell has a massive six-foot-eleven wingspan, and is great at forcing turnovers. He can defend many small forwards in the NBA because of his 215-pound frame in a six-foot-three body.
Powell’s best NBA skill though, is his shooting. Still only 27-years-old, Powell has become one of the best shooters in the league. In the last 3 seasons, he has shot 41, 41, and 44 percent from distance. A lot of this volume also comes from the corners, where he is deadly.
Powell does a lot of things that the Blazers need.
Just as importantly though, by trading his salary and sending out Hood and Trent’s deals, the Blazers immediately got off the future salary of Hood and effectively swapped Trent for Powell.
Powell will likely opt out of his deal in 2022, to become an unrestricted free agent. He will likely get big offers because of his two-way play and youth. But, he may not get as much as Trent was going to command, and when you add in the savings of moving Hood, this was a nice salary-saving move.
Trent had become a fan favorite in Portland because of his gutsy defense and lights-out shooting, but Powell is a more complete player. He is a better passer, better rebounder, and is a far better finisher at the rim, Maybe Trent develops all these skills, but for now, with the Blazers being in win-now mode, Powell is the better player.
With Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum‘s extensions kicking in next year, the Blazers couldn’t afford to pay Trent as well. Though going deep into the tax probably isn’t a problem for this team, I don’t know if it was right to do that for three guards in Dame, CJ and Trent.
Hood has been a shell of himself this year, and is a player who needs the ball in his hands more often than not. Because of his lack of skill in other areas such as defense, passing and rebounding, it made sense for the Blazers to move off him.
The Blazers are now $7 million out of the tax for 2022, with Powell’s player option sitting there for next year.
This trade was a great one for the Blazers. They upgraded their backup guard while cutting salary at the same time.
Grade – B+